5 Steps To Increase Efficiency At Work And At Home

There are certain things involved in our day-to-day routines which slow us down, and not in the good ‘slowing down to enjoy life’ kind of way. I’m talking about the types of things which slow us down and ruin our efficiency. In business and at home.

Let’s go through a few simple things you can do to improve your productivity at work and at home:

1) Audit your time:
Just like creating a budget to see where your money goes, create a time budget and see exactly how much time you spend on different things. This may surprise you. Do one separate for work and for your free time. For work time, you’ll be surprised how much time you waste spend in meetings and answering calls/emails. Yes, I know this may be a necessary part of your job, but a lot of times, they get in the way of getting real work done. Keep meetings to an absolute minimum, try to work through assigning tasks and delegating responsibilities without calling a meeting.

For your personal life, if too much of this time goes to watching TV, then it’s time to wake up from your trance and take back up your personal interests and hobbies. Or swap that TV time with reading. Although if you’re reading this and a part of the blogosphere (observer or participant), you’re probably not the average TV freak.

2) Trim the fat:
After the time audit, it will be clear what your biggest time wasters are. Now you need to go through the process of eliminating the non-essentials. Have you started to accumulate tasks which aren’t really your responsibilities but you’re doing for your co-workers? It’s time to get those off your plate to focus on what you’re being paid to do.

Is there something taking up a huge amount of time but no one can do it but you? Find a better way to do it — be creative, create a better system. Use technology, where applicable.

3) Get organized:
Do you spend your day looking through emails or files to try to find bits of information? Are you drowning in sheets of paper? It happens to everyone. Every once in awhile, it’s necessary to clean house. Don’t be afraid to throw things out – if you wrote a note about something 3 months ago and have no idea what it’s referring to, you probably don’t need it any longer.

4) Take it digital
Analog calendars are nice to have in front of your eyes to refer to a date quickly, but I keep all my appointments digitally now, as well as many important notes and contacts. It’s a whole lot less paper, and it keeps things organized. Bring your laptop to meetings and take notes on that if you can. If you’re like me, you’re far quicker at typing than you are at writing, and it comes out much neater. Create files for everything by date and subject. All your notes are now instantly at your fingertips.

5) Learn the shortcuts
Use a program like Google Maps to plot a better course to work. Learn all the keyboard shortcuts in Windows, MS Office, or any other applications you use. Create template documents for formats you use frequently. Use RSS feeds to read news from hundreds of publications without ever leaving your homepage. Consolidate your emails to one account. The list here is endless. The point is is that all those little shortcuts add up, it may only be a few minutes here and a few seconds there – but over the longhaul you’ll be able to effectively maximize your time and get done more important work than you ever imagined.