Career and Workplace

Staying Efficient At Work Is More Than Getting All Your Tasks Done In A Day

Technology has, in many ways, made us more efficient and the more efficient you can be at work, the easier it will be to have a work-life balance. Right? Well, technology can also get in the way of meaningful work so we need to be very mindful of the way we use it if we’re going to work more productively.

Here’s how.

  1. Prioritise your tasks

There are only so many hours in a day and there will always be work we won’t be able to get to. Planning is very important to get the most out of your day. It’s especially easy to conflate important and often challenging tasks with fillers that seem “easier” to get through first but actually drain your energy and time.

Choose the top three tasks you have to complete by the end of the day and focus your to-do list around completing them. Everything else comes secondary and should only be addressed once the top three priorities have been addressed appropriately.

  1. Learn how to procrastinate

Procrastination gets a bad rep when it comes to productivity but it can help you learn better and faster. The idea is to stay focused on a task for 45 minutes, and then take a rest of no more than 15 minutes. During this break you are procrastinating from the task i.e. killing time. While some people find it helpful to play a game online like Tetris, others might find it beneficial to step away from the computer during this break time.

This technique of scheduling breaks actually allows your brain to rest and to think up creative ways to complete the task at hand. It can also be useful to retain critical information while selectively ignoring the unnecessary details that can be very overwhelming to the mind. 

  1. Don’t work out of your inbox

If your day is dominated by emails (unless it is specifically part of your job description), changing the way you interact with emails could help you make technology work for you. It can be very inefficient to switch your attention back and forth between emails and your most pressing task at hand throughout the day. It can seem “important” to check your emails, after all, it is work-related, but it can interrupt your workflow.

If you find yourself distracted by your inbox while trying to get through tasks, allocate a specific time to read and reply emails, then shut it down completely. Only respond to emails during that time. This will also help you to differentiate between tasks and can deter you from reading a work email that comes in at 9pm. And try not to link your work email to your smartphone. It’s easy to check your email on autopilot without even thinking about it.

  1. Accept that you’re not a robot

Yes, technology has advanced and you are therefore more efficient than you’ve ever been. But it is important to realise that your to-do list and your inbox will probably never ever be empty. Allow yourself to leave work without finishing everything. There is always too much to do and we will probably never quite “catch up” but you’re not a hamster on the wheel.

Prioritising your life outside of work is more important for your productivity and efficiency at work than you realise. The boundaries you draw at work will help you find more balance between work and leisure. This will help you lead a more fulfilling and healthy life which will in turn make you more productive.

Written by:
Chloe Pharamond