Working efficiently versus working effectively
The following 20 tips offer ways you can increase your work productivity and how to work effectively. Working efficiently means working in such a way that it takes as little time, effort, and resources as possible, and the task is performed as practically and as well as possible.
Working effectively involves determining whether the task is important and in line with your goals. Effective therefore relates to the result and is goal-oriented.
The benefits of working efficiently
- Finish work on time: by organising the tasks, you will have processed those actions in no time and can tick them off your to-do list.
- Higher productivity: you will do much more work in less time.
- Save time: by working routinely and automating tasks, this allows you to take on even more tasks and to save time.
How to work effectively
- List all your tasks in one overview. Keep the list in one place and do not post notes everywhere.
- Take your own biorhythm into account. In the morning you may be able to concentrate more on your work than in the early afternoon or vice versa. Take this into consideration when planning your tasks.
- Say No more often. To quote the great Warren Buffett: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
- Pick your to-dos and tasks for the next day at the end of the afternoon.
- Focus on one task. Give very conscious attention to one task. Put the biggest distraction – your phone – away.
- Work in blocks of 25 minutes and then take a break.
- Begin the week with the big things: the important tasks that align with our rules and principles. It is about getting the right things done at the expense of getting lots of things done. Read more in the article Increase Productivity by Using the Covey Time Management Matrix.
- Collect similar activities and then process them in one go. Make phone calls one after the other, put reports into systems or make quotations.
- Work a day or half a day at home or at another location. Changing the environment and scenery will create more flow in your work.
- Turn off all distractions and notifications on your laptop, tablet and/or phone.
- Automate common tasks and use templates for email texts that you use often.
- Plan blocks in your calendar for recurring tasks. You will not have to think about these tasks anymore, and they will be dealt with during the week anyway.
- Check beforehand what and who you need. It is extremely inconvenient if, while working, you keep having to fetch things from different places or if you have not gotten certain information from a colleague yet.
- Start with a task, not with your email. Many people start their day by reading their email. Just start with a task and check for new emails at regular intervals.
- Follow a training course on Outlook or Time Management to save hours of time every day.
- Ask your colleagues how they perform certain tasks if you see that they do these much faster than you.
- Estimate as realistic a timeframe as possible for how long you will spend time on an activity. It is of no use to colleagues or clients if you indicate a turnaround time that is too short and do not finish the task in the end.
- Provide a quiet environment without too many distractions. Piles of papers and folders are distracting. Pursue a clean desk policy.
- Meet as little and as briefly as possible. After all, meetings are already inefficient and very time-consuming. Try to shorten each meeting by at least 25%.
- How to work effectively? Good is good enough. Do not aim to do a perfect job. The 80/20 rule often applies. In 20% of the time, you can achieve 80% of the result.