Workplace Efficiency

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Workplace Efficiency

As a result of the numerous cost cutting initiatives by local business entities, due to the economic recession and increasing levels of unemployment, employees are now under more pressure than ever before to continuously meet increasing targets with limited and or decreasing resources. Fortunately, there is a solution to the challenge plaguing overworked employees everywhere. The solution? Increasing Efficiency!!!! The following are some quick easy ways to get more done in less time, meet your deadlines and still be home in plenty of time to watch the news.

Organise

Maximise your efficiency and minimise your efforts by becoming organised. Designate a space for everything and keep everything in its designated space. Keeping similar things together will assist you in finding them easily and avoid clutter and or a crowded workspace. This concept can be applied to your physical workspace (desk or office) as well as files/documents (physical or electronic). It saves time when you know exactly where to find what you are looking for when you need it, instead of having to search through countless documents to find the one that you are looking for. Some simple yet effective ways to organise files and documents include alphabetical order, subject matter and date (reverse chronological order is the most efficient). For extreme organisation and or a large number of documents or files, these categories can be used in combination.

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Prioritise

So many things to get done and such little time in which to do it. Some people like to do the easier tasks first gradually working themselves up to the more challenging ones. Others like to tackle the more challenging tasks first, in order to clear a path to the finish line. While both approaches can be very effective, the most efficient order of completing tasks is to tackle the most important and value adding tasks first. It helps to make a “TO DO” list of all the tasks to be undertaken. Next, arrange the tasks in the order of due/deadline dates. If the task does not have a specific deadline date then consider the impact or ripple effect that completing the task will have on you, your unit/department and by extension, your entire organisation. If completing the task will have many benefits and far-reaching implications for professional, departmental and organisational success then consider moving that task near the top of your list of priorities. Prioritisation will ensure that you meet your deadline dates and eliminate the stress and negative reputation that will inevitably result from submitting your assignments after the due date has elapsed. Completing and dispatching your assignments on time is a demonstration to your supervisor and co-workers alike that you are an organised, diligent, competent, reliable, dependable and therefore a valuable member to have and keep on the team.

Be Proactive

More often than not, work is routine. Even one-off, project type work contains similar elements. Accordingly, it becomes quite easy to anticipate what will be expected of you even before the request is even made. This knowledge should be used to assist in pre-planning and preparation to ensure that you complete all tasks accurately and efficiently. Simply put, proactivity is all about planning for, managing and controlling a situation as much as possible before it arises instead of waiting for it to happen and then reacting after the fact. Here are some quick easy ways that you can practice proactivity:

  • Design and Use of Standardised Templates – reduces time and effort required to complete a particular task (such as report writing) just change the dates, plug in the new content/data and voila.
  •  Pre-plan each day – at the start of each day or perhaps the evening before, make a list of the things you would like to accomplish for the day and try to stick to it. Although impromptu meetings/situations requiring your immediate attention may occur, try to achieve as many items on your day plan list as possible.
  •  Avoid Procrastination – commence and try to complete tasks as soon as possible.

 

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Leverage Technology

We are all used to the “work smart not hard” cliché but most of us are confused about how to actually go about putting this philosophy into practice. Thankfully technology is here to help. Gone are the days of having to remember appointments. We can now input meetings, appointments and due/deadline dates into the electronic calendars contained on all our smart devices and have technology give us automatic electronic reminders. We can also help co-workers and subordinates by using our electronic calendars to issue email invitations and automatic reminders to other meeting attendees. We can also maximize technological advancements to make life easier by creating templates for correspondence we dispatch regularly like letters, memos, meeting minutes and monthly reports.

Creating customized databases and spreadsheets can give us quick and easy access to large amounts of important information we may need to complete larger tasks and duties. There is even free software that converts speech to text to help us convert large amounts of information into useful documents faster than we can type. Gone are the days of having to wallow in ignorance or go to the library to physically find the answers we need in books. Thanks to search engines like Google, we can have answers to any and every question literally at our fingertips with no resources other than an electronic device and internet connection. Search engines are powerful tools that can be used to assist us all in becoming more knowledgeable and competent in any area. The more you use them, the more proficient you will become in accessing the information you need quickly and effortlessly.

Avoid Distractions

While technology provides limitless opportunities for assisting us, it also creates limitless avenues for distraction. With technological advancements like Netflix, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, it’s easy to get distracted from our work duties and responsibilities. So try to stay away from these while you work so that you can focus and complete your work accurately in quick time and still enjoy social media on your personal time.

Get Help/Improve your skills

We are not all great at everything and while we don’t have to be, ensuring proficiency in necessary areas is a small step that goes a long way toward efficiency. Training in your core area of responsibility is a must. Keep up to date with the ever-changing trends and technology that are central to your job description. Be brave enough to examine your weaknesses, honest enough to admit your shortcomings and courageous enough to get help, develop and improve your skills and proficiency.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” Paul J. Meyer

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