The Top 5: Tips For Working Efficiently
Tips from the trenches to keep your copier career on track
Working Efficiently Gives Your Career an Edge
The end of the year is rapidly approaching and many of you are feeling unprepared. If you find yourself frequently wishing you had more time in your day or quarter or year; it’s time to assess what you’re doing and make some changes! The following tips can help you transition from just working hard to working smart:
1. Get some perspective. Most of us can get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks that we lose sight of the big picture. Set aside a little time to get back on track. Think about your position and what your role is meant to accomplish for the company as a whole. Do you bring in revenue with sales, extend product life with service, facilitate smooth operations with support, provide motivation and guidance with management, etc? Then ask whether you’re fulfilling this general purpose – could someone guess your basic job description only by observing you for one day?
Keeping the big picture in mind, start listing out the tasks/responsibilities you need to accomplish to do your job. Once you have a complete list, try organizing them a few different ways – daily vs. long-term, high priority vs. low priority, easy vs. difficult, fun vs. boring/stressful, etc.
2. Make a plan. Now that you’ve broken your job into bite-sized chucks, it’s time to build your schedule. Pay special attention to tasks that fall into multiple categories. Tasks that are daily, high priority, difficult and stressful are probably the most challenging part of your day. You’ll want to be strategic when working those into your schedule. Consider getting those tasks over with when you’re at your best – typically early to mid-morning or just after lunch – rather than when you’re tired, hungry or cranky. Once you’ve jumped those hurdles, schedule a break or an easy and fun task.
Make sure your schedule has a good balance of daily and long-term tasks and is front-loaded with high-priority tasks without neglecting low-priority items. Try your schedule for a week and assess your accomplishments, energy level and general outlook. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments as necessary!
3. Take care of yourself. The best plan in the world won’t work if you don’t have the energy to do the work. You are not a machine. Get enough sleep, eat good food, drink enough water, dress comfortably within the dress code, take breaks, eat snacks – basic human things to take care of your human body. It’s simple, it’s obvious but most of us just keep forgetting to do these things.
4. Focus. If you find yourself constantly falling behind your schedule, maybe you just have too much on your plate or you may have a focus issue. To find out, try a little experiment – turn your social media notifications off during work hours, lock your phone in your desk drawer, follow your schedule and avoid multitasking for an entire day. Did you get everything done on time? If so, you need to make minimizing distractions and maximizing focus a priority.
5. Make it fun! If everything about your job is hard, unpleasant work you risk burning out. Come up with some good rewards for accomplishing your goals, both big and small. Find ways to infuse a bit of encouragement into your day. Many professionals have had success with gamification, which uses game design and principles to make existing tasks feel like play. There are tons of applications that take your task list and turn it into a quest, doling out little rewards and encouragement as you meet your goals. These applications also help you visualize your accomplishments, whether with tables and graphs or little cartoon animations. Whatever methods you choose, the point is to make it fun!