Work efficiency speaks for itself. But it's not always the easiest to achieve.
I don’t have a nine-to-five job. I haven’t since 2007. And people always ask me how I stay on task. “I could never do what you do,” they say. “I would never get anything done.” And while I understand that notion, work efficiency isn’t just a priority, it’s a must. If I’m scrolling through Facebook, I’m not getting paid. If I’m obsessing over Instagram, unless it’s related to a story, I'm not working toward life goals. Efficiency is the name of my game and while I’m not on task 100 percent of the time, over the past 7 years, it’s become a whole lot easier.
6 Tips for Boosting Work Efficiency
1. Start off with a list.
My day is not done until I've written my to-do list for the next day. And it’s not a wish list, it’s the tasks that HAVE to get done that day. And as I check them off, I feel good about my productivity every step of the way.
2. Don’t multi-task.
Multi-tasking is a myth. The best thing about working from home is that I can run a load of laundry while I’m writing a story (well, maybe not the best thing). But over the years I’ve learned to set aside time to do these tasks. For example, I’ll write a rough draft and then throw laundry in the washer once I’m on a break, but I won’t get up in the middle of a story to do housework. And unless I’m awaiting an important email, I try and avoid checking email while I’m working on a task as well.
3. When willpower grows weak, think of the end result.
Sometimes it’s just a low willpower day. Maybe the sky is gray and you’d much rather get back in bed. These are the days when I look to end results for motivation. Think of your goals and how badly you want to reach them and it might give you that extra boost.
4. Identify when you’re the most efficient.
I’m the most efficient in the morning, that’s why even if I feel like throwing my smartphone alarm across the room, I groan and roll out of bed. Some people can work late into the evening. It totally depends on the person, but the most important part is that you identify which category you fall into and be available during that time.
5. Get started.
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part and once you do, you’re all set to go. Dive into the task at hand and get to work.
6. Take breaks.
I can work about 90 minutes before I need to take a break. I’ll walk the dogs, grab a snack, or fit in some exercise. And when I’m on break I try and avoid thinking about what I’m working on at the time.
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Image: Steve Wilson