Be More Efficient … at work or your profession!

Time Management CourseMany researchers that study productivity publish their top three through 10 techniques to increase productivity at your job or profession. They also raise the questions are the number of hours that you invest at work and whether or not you have organized your work adequately.

Russell Bishop, is an efficiency expert and author of Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work. Bishop offers three (3) suggestions, with a twist on how they may be executed. You can find his book here.

Silence Your Email – You may need to keep your email program open because your job or profession requires you to be logged on. However, turning off the “pings” will remove the Pavlovian response to check messages every few minutes or seconds. You could also add a note to your signature line indicating that you check email, say, “three times a day — 8:00 am, 1:00 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.” Next, you could add a note that you respond within 24 hours (or different time frame), but if this is urgent, to call you.”

Ensure Meetings Requires Your Presence – Consider responding to meeting invitations asking what role you can play so that you can prepare. This is a polite way of determining if this is not the best use of your time. If it is an update meeting, offer to provide your update in writing so you can continue to work on your part of a particular project.

Map Out Your Professional Priorities – We have to be responsive to our team leader’s requests. The least that you can do is volunteer for projects that move you where you want to go. Always ask yourself, what demonstrable value you can add if you accomplish the task. In other words, do your best to only work on tasks that move you forward on your critical goals and objectives. This will save you time because you won’t be doing additional meaningless (to you) work than you have to.

Julie Morgenstern, author of Never Check Email in the Morning says that, “We can all be more efficient with our daily tasks.” This will help our careers as well as our overall happiness. Her three productivity tips are somewhat unique as well.

Commit to leaving 30 minutes earlier than usual – Working moms experience this phenomenon: If you have something important to get home to (like a baby) you’ll be more focused. “Committing to leaving earlier gives you a deadline and forces you to eliminate the little time wasters (silly interruptions, procrastination, and perfectionism) that eat up your day.” Regardless of your parental status, don’t let your day stretch needlessly. Think of an activity that you haven’t done for a long time and that brings you instant happiness. Put it in your day timer as a nonnegotiable appointment with yourself.

Stop Multitasking – Recent research shows that multitasking may make us less efficient instead of more so. “By learning to focus fully on one project at a time, you can regain the extra hour or two,” says Morgenstern. Think about your own multitasking scenarios. For instance, if your typical morning means catching up on emails, while completing a 2-hour project and casually catching up with your work colleague, it can take 3 hours. Instead, if you take 20 uninterrupted minutes to check emails, then do your 2-hour project, you’ll have 40 minutes left over. Leave work 40 minutes earlier than usual and do the activity that you recorded in your day timer.

Organized To-do list – Choose one tool (planner, notebook, smart phone) to track everything you need to do, and prioritize from the top down. That way, you’ll spend 100 percent of your time completing your to-do list, not finding it. Complete the largest and most important tasks first, to make sure they get done. If you run short on time, move low priority tasks over to the next day.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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