How To Be More Efficient
Many people think that to get more done you need to work harder, when in fact you need to work smarter!
These simple techniques will help you get more done in less time and also cut down on stress.
The 6 Points Of Efficiency
Working efficiently breaks down into these simple points~
- Be decisive
- Eliminate 'busywork'
- Keep things simple
- Smart multitasking
How To Research
The first step to any project is to know what you are doing. By doing some quick research at the beginning of a project, you can make informed guesses as to possible problems that may arise.
Predicting possible challenges will help you prepare or make alterations before work begins, which is quicker than making corrections later.
This is where Google is your best friend! Search for similar projects and see what people are saying about them. What problems do they have? Can you improve on them? Do you need to alter your initial idea?
Using your knowledge make informed decisions and act on them! I have to admit I have an aversion to 'faffing'. There is never a perfect solution, but if you are well informed and follow your instincts and experience you must trust that your decision is the right one.
Second guessing yourself takes up valuable time (especially mid-project) and confuses and annoys others. People are less likely to trust you if you are not confident in what you are doing and are constantly changing your mind.
Be clear on what needs to be done and do it! You're only making more work for yourself otherwise.
Do You Ever Ask for Help with Your Work?
How To Delegate
If your are self-employed as a sole-trader or freelancer, chances are you are trying to do everything in the business.
Sometimes it pays to delegate work somewhere else. We all have our strong points and weaknesses and it's important to focus what you can do. Be prepared to trust someone else with what you're not so good at!
Consider outsourcing, paying freelancers or creating a 'skills trade'. Trying to be good at something that doesn't come naturally to you, will waste time and cause frustration and resentment. If you know someone who is good at what you aren't and vice-versa, ask them if they would like to trade skills with you.
List all the areas of your business and rate each one from 1-5 on how good you are at them. For those that score low, consider who you know who could help, or search online. There are several sites, such as Elance, where you can hire someone at reasonable rates, either as a one-off or ongoing agreement.
Areas of Business
Don't waste time on work that doesn't need to be done!
'Busywork' is work that is designed to either keep someone occupied because they are on an hourly rate, contracted for a particular number of hours. It is also work created to distract yourself from what really need to be done.
Make a 'to-do' list and cross off anything that isn't actually necessary and which won't have a direct impact on profits. Only do tasks that:
- Make you money
- Are a legal requirement
- Build your brand
- Help your business evolve
Be brutally honest with yourself and you work. Anything else is just a waste of time, energy and resources.
Occam's Razor: Keep Things Simple
Occam's Razor is one of my favourite theories:
"The simplest solution is often the best"
Us humans have a tendency to over-complicate things. Approach your projects and tasks as simply as possible, drawing on basic but fundamental skills.
Many people put down those that do something simply. But why? If it works, it works! Why would you want to do more? It doesn't prove anything, or mean you are worth more because what you did was complicated. The important thing is that you have a solution that is effective and profitable.
Over-complicating things makes it difficult for others to follow and understand, can cause frustration and take more resources (including time) than necessary. Be straight forward, open and don't over-think things. Listen to your first thoughts and instincts, making sure ego doesn't get in the way.
How To Multitask
Yes, we all know women are the multitask-ers of the world, but that isn't always a good thing.
Multitasking can be a very useful skill, but only if done correctly. Trying to focus on more than one thing at one time can cause confusion, sub-standard work, more stress and can even be dangerous. So I wouldn't recommend trying to paint a picture, feed a baby and talk on the phone all at the same time!
Smart multitasking, is when you take advantage of the gaps of time that free up whilst waiting for something else. So if you're waiting on an important email for example, don't just sit around staring at the screen or playing Bejewelled. Use that time to tick something else off your list. This way you are focusing on one thing at a time, but not wasting time either.
If you know a task will involve some waiting, plan to get something else done in that time.
You can also combine physical and mental tasks too. Now you may find that being on an exercise bike or sitting on the train, are times best spent gathering your thoughts and relaxing. But if you are looking for ultimate efficiency to free up more time at home, use travelling and exercise as opportunities to get something done.