Productivity Does Not Equate Efficacy- Working Smarter, Not Harder
Hard work is the cornerstone of productivity.
However, too many of us are spinning our wheels and not really getting anything done. Our days are ever busier, but we accomplish ever less. We rearrange schedules, make different plans, and try to pull ourselves together, only to remain less efficient than we would like to be. Some of us have trouble getting started. Some have trouble staying focused. And some don’t know how to switch gears between different tasks and roles.
Whatever the reason for our time management issues, we can all agree that being efficient with our time is better than merely being busy.
While there are some people who really do need to rein things in and do less, in most cases, being more effective is about working smarter. Here are five simple ways you can become more efficient, which will lead to better productivity and, believe it or not, more leisure time.
We all think we do this. But do we do it effectively? When it comes to prioritizing, less is actually more. When you really think about it, there are usually only a few things that urgently need to get done on any given day, and others which can wait. Divide your tasks into a few different categories: things that must be done today, no matter what; things that are somewhat urgent, but can wait if necessary; and things that can be rolled over into the future. As you progress, things will naturally move up the list of urgency.
Plan ahead; map out your daily tasks ahead of time so that you have direction and a sense of purpose, and you do not feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done.
Part of being efficient means keeping your eye on the prize. If you do not have something specific to work toward, you may find yourself succumbing to a mountain of tasks that seem unrelated,
Keep things manageable
Setting your sights too high or staying too focused on the big picture can lead to feelings of frustration and a sense of inadequacy. Divide up your goals into realistic, manageable mini-goals, and celebrate when you accomplish each one. You will get to the big picture soon enough, and you will feel a real sense of accomplishment along the way.
Create different times for work and leisure activities. Compartmentalizing your time does two things: it ensures that you have enough downtime to stay relaxed, productive and committed to what is important to you, and it forces you to be productive. If you give yourself a strict out time for work, for example, so that you can be available for dinner each night, you will be forced to make the most of every minute of the rest of your day.
Find your own way
While these general tips work for most people, you must adapt them into a system that works for your specific needs. If reading the news or catching up with friends on Facebook is cutting into your productivity, set time limits, or structure time for those activities into your day. If you find you regularly get carried away working and lose track of time, set up a visual or auditory reminder for yourself that will take you out of your work and prompt you to relax.
In the end, efficiency is about working hard and smart. If you keep your priorities straight, your goals realistic, and your mind focused, you will increase your efficiency, and become the boss of your own time.