Find yourself clocking up more hours than your colleagues or just feeling bogged down by your work to-do list? We spoke to the most efficient workers at Grazia HQ and got their tips on how to increase your work efficiency AND finish on time…
1. Write a to do list for TODAY.
An ever lasting to do list can be daunting (and quite frankly panic inducing!) Keep the main list going on an app like Evernote where you can add to it on the go and jot a daily task list down on a notepad. That way, you can prioritize what needs to be done and establish what is actually achievable in 8 hours giving you daily cross-off-the-list satisfaction.
2. Stop being a perfectionist.
Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) famously said 'done is better than perfect' We're not saying you shouldn’t have pride in your work but do you REALLY need to colour co-ordinate that spreadsheet?
3. Meeting efficiency.
If your day is full of meeting after meeting then when are you supposed to do your actual work? With every meeting ask the organiser why you need to attend, it may ruffle some feathers but if they can’t explain why your attendance is needed, politely decline. The same goes for meeting length; does every meeting need to be 1 hour long?
4. Packed lunches are the way forward.
They don’t have to consist of soggy sarnies and a scrunched up packet of Hula Hoops – but they can if you want. A packed lunch not only saves you cash but it also means you can spend your lunch break eating outside or on the phone to a friend rather than fighting over the last £8 Pret salad.
5. Boring task power hour.
Those small tasks that you’re ignoring because they’re just B.O.R.I.N.G - can mean you spend the end of the day clearing them off your list when your energy is at its lowest. Instead, allocate an hour during the day to get rid of the mandatory tasks. Stick in your head phones and listen to some feel good tunes or a TED talk and see how many you can tick off in the hour.
6. Mobile phone check-ins.
We check our phones x times a day. Although you might not realize it, the constant stream of WhatsApps, texts, social media alerts and personal emails are distracting.
You can tell yourself you wont respond until lunch but the task list building inside your memory (remember to text Nan back, email friends to confirm your attendance at the weekend) can just add to the pressure. Instead, allocate 3 points across the day to check in on your phone.
7. Email filing.
Snooze-ville it may be but clearing your inbox and filing away all of your emails is one of life’s most satisfying tasks. If you get into the habit of organizing and deleting your emails you reduce the risk of panic searching for a long lost email train and mass deletion of all your emails to work friends to make some room for you know, work stuff.
8. Start sending What-I’m-Doing-today emails.
Your boss may have no idea what you are up to that day and therefore dump a load of work on your desk without realizing you’re already up to your eyeballs.
Remain a ‘yes’ person but make a habit of sending your daily task list across to them so they’re aware of you workload. Another plus is they can also start to protect you from other colleagues who might be sending more work your way…