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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Work More Efficiently and Stop Rushing to Meet Deadlines

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How to Work More Efficiently and Stop Rushing to Meet Deadlines

Are you one of those people who is always rushing to meet their deadlines and get their work done? If that’s the case, have you ever stopped to consider that perhaps something is wrong with your efficiency or time management? Learning how to work more efficiently is key if you want to use your time wisely and make space for the things that matter most in life.

This article will get you some practical tips on how to work more efficiently.

Why Is It Important to Become More Efficient?

Being unproductive can counter satisfaction and life goals in the long run. Before you even realize it, you will find yourself struggling to attain basic happiness in life, and you will find yourself engaged in a never-ending web of pending tasks.

Hence, in order to remain competitive at your workplace and be regarded as a valued human resource of your organization, it might be a good idea to pull up your socks and stop rushing to meet deadlines each time you have a project on your plate.

Here are some tips that will help you improve your game and become more enthusiastic and productive.

How to Work More Efficiently

Eliminate Unproductive Jobs From Your Schedule

This could mean that you need to shut down your phone while you are working or that you need to give up your Netflix subscription.

Only you can define what is it that takes away your attention and time while you are working. It is in your best interest to identify them and get rid of them as soon as possible.

Social media is one of the major distractors. If that is the case with you, find ways to keep yourself off the sites and devote your time to work instead.

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Set Small Goals and Deadlines

Meeting a bigger deadline with a huge workload might be tricky when you are trying to get yourself back on track. Instead, give yourself short term goals such as, “I am not going to use my phone for social media browsing for the next hour.”

Stick to these goals and find yourself at a happier place when you meet them. Slowly, this will put you in a habit of meeting your goals and preparing you to meet the most important deadlines.

Identify Jobs That Can Be Delegated

Delegate work to others and free up your time to attend important projects and tasks that only you can perform. You are likely part of a team of talented people, each with their own unique strengths. If you know of a person who could perform a specific task more efficiently than you, bring them on board to see if they would be willing to help[1].

Chances are your teammates will feel proud to be called upon for special tasks and will be happy to help in any case. Delegation, in the long run, is a great technique to use when learning how to work more efficiently.

Upgrade Your Skill Set

Upgrade your skill set to acquire knowledge and talent that will help you stand out from the rest of your fleet. This will help you perform your work with excellence and meet your targets on time.

You can do this by taking free courses online, reading relevant books or articles, or learning from a mentor.

Get the Important Jobs Done

This will keep your work on track and avoid the last minute rush to get the big stuff done. Once you’ve finished the important tasks and met those deadlines, you can move on to smaller tasks on your list with a greater sense of control and relaxation.

Prioritize Your Work

Attend to those jobs that require your attention immediately and save the remaining jobs for later in the day. This will help you stay updated with your task list and attend to priority jobs first.

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You will find that your schedule gradually eases up as you get your jobs done one by one.

9 Ways to Tackle Deadlines and Work Efficiently

No matter what your profession might be, every person struggles to meet deadlines at some point. Deadlines tend to create an immense load of stress on those who are bound to meet them.

Fortunately, for most of the hard working people out there, there are some common and useful tactics that can help you tackle even the scariest and tightest deadlines.

Before Starting a Project

Your aim to become more efficient and manage your deadlines should ideally emanate right from the time when you plan to start a project.

1. Set the Scope of the Project

Spending more time setting the scope of a project before starting will help you understand the context of work which you are required to undertake, which saves time and creates better work habits.This involves anticipating the volume of work that you need to complete before the deadline. While doing so, schedule in some extra time so that you’ll have space to tackle any unexpected challenges or complications to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

2. Think Twice

It makes sense to account for your existing projects before you commit to another one. All in all, at this stage, you are required to do everything that ensures that you have an ample amount of time to meet the required deadline.

As you’re learning how to work more efficiently, you must also learn how to say no when you already have too much on your plate. Don’t commit to something you won’t be able to finish.

During the Project

This is the stage when you are actually going to be doing everything to meet your deadlines and remain efficient at your job.

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3. Start as Soon as Possible

At this stage, your aim should be to focus on starting the job as soon as possible. Procrastination is a bane that can put you in a state of desperation as your deadline approaches. Waiting for the last minute to start a project can be counterproductive and put you behind before you’ve even begun, which results in wasted time.

If you often struggle with procrastination, check out this Lifehack Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.

4. Focus on High-Priority Tasks

The best strategy that you can adopt at this stage is to do the important work at the top on your priority list. The most important and most difficult tasks must be done first.

Adopt time-management strategies to help you learn how to work more efficiently. Staying focused on your work goes a long way in making you a more productive person.

Also, keep your work area free of distractions, so that you are not pushed to divert your focus for something that isn’t important in the moment.

5. Track Your Progress

Time and again, you must take steps to track your progress and check what portion of your goals have been met in the process of completing your jobs. Give yourself short-term goals, as these are always easier to meet.

Alongside these short-term goals, make it a habit to check your daily progress, which will give you an idea of what you have accomplished and what remains.

6. Suspend Activities That Don’t Contribute to Your Goals

Try to understand the impact of activities, such as social media, which tend to disturb your focus, attention, and schedule.

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Shunning activities that distract you and keep you from completing work before the deadline is a good approach.

If necessary, call on team members to take on small tasks that aren’t helping you meet an impending deadline on a larger project so that you can focus on the task at hand.

After the Project Is Done

Simply submitting a project does not mean that your work is done. There are still some things that you can do to improve your efficiency and become a more productive person in the long run.

7. Submit Your Project Before the Deadline

This will make more time for other projects, which can then be completed on time as well.

Moreover, it gives you the added advantage of making an impression on the client or your boss. This way, you will be entrusted with further jobs, which is good for your career in the long term.

8. Confirm Receipt of the Project

Even in these times of technological advancement, there are chances of the client blaming you for non-receipt of the project within the stipulated time. Hence, the one thing which you must absolutely do after submitting your project is to confirm if it has been received by the client.

9. Get Feedback

Getting feedback on your work will help you analyze the overall quality of what you’ve completed[2]. Once you receive a positive response to your work, you will feel more motivated to meet your work deadlines in time.

Final Thoughts

Missing deadlines can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety that can ultimately turn into a bad habit once it takes root. Fortunately, there are things you can do at each stage of a project to overcome procrastination and learn how to work more efficiently.

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It’s time to stop blaming time and start reflecting on what is wrong with your schedule, so that you can become a more efficient person and begin meeting your deadlines.

More on How to Work More Efficiently

Featured photo credit: krakenimages via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ankit Garg

Serial entrepreneur and working towards Early Retirement

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home

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The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home

Suppose you finally took the plunge: resigned your corporate job, decided to follow the passion of your life and (by lack of a new office space, of course), you started to work from home. Welcome to the club! Been there for a few years now and, guess what, it turned out that working from home is not as simple as I thought it would be.

It certainly has a tons of advantages, but those advantages won’t come in a sugary, care free, or all pinky and happy-go-lucky package. On the contrary. When you work from home, maintaining a constant productivity flow may be a real challenge. And there are many reasons for that.

For instance, you may still unconsciously assimilate your home with your relaxation space, hence a little nap on the couch, in the middle of the day, with still a ton of unfinished tasks, may seem like a viable option. Well, not! Or, because you’re working from home now, you think you can endlessly postpone some of your projects for ever, since nobody is on your back anymore. You’re your own boss and decided to be a gentle one. Fatal mistake. Or…

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OK, let’s stop with the reasons right here and move on to the practical part. So, what can you do to squeeze each and every inch of usefulness and productivity from your new working space and schedule (namely, your home)? What follows is a short list of what I found to be fundamentally necessary when you walk on this path.

1. Set Up A Specific Workplace

And stay there. That specific workspace may be a specific room (your home office), or a part of a room. Whatever it is, it must be clearly designed as a work area, with as little interference from your home space as possible. The coexistence of your home and work space is just a happy accident. But just because of that, those two spaces don’t necessarily have to blend together.

If you move your work space constantly around various parts of your house, instead of a single “anchor space”, something awkward will happen. Your home won’t feel like home anymore. That’s one of the most popular reasons for quitting working form home: “My home didn’t feel like home anymore”. Of course it didn’t if you mixed all its parts with your work space.

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2. Split Work Into Edible Chunks

Don’t aim too high. Don’t expect to do big chunks of work in a single step. That was one of the most surprising situations I encountered when I first started to work from home. Instead of a steady, constant flow of sustained activity, all I could do were short, compact sessions on various projects. It took a while to understand why.

When you work in a populated workspace, you behave differently. There is a subtle field of energy created by humans when they’re in their own proximity, and that field alone can be enough of an incentive to do much more than you normally do. Well, when you’re at home, alone, this ain’t gonna happen. That’s why you should use whatever productivity technique you’re comfortable with to split your work in small, edible chunks: GTD, pomodoro.

3. Work Outside Home

In coffee shops or other places, like shared offices. It may sound a little bit counterintuitive, to work outside your home when you’re working from home. But only in the beginning. You’ll soon realize that working from home doesn’t mean you have to stay there all the time. It basically means your home is also your office and you’re free to go outside if you want to.

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I know this may not apply to all of the “work from home” situations, but for those related to information processing, when all you need is a laptop an internet connection, that usually works beautifully. It adds a very necessary element of diversity and freshness. It can also be the source of some very interesting social interactions, especially when you have to solve all sort of digital nomad situations.

4. Go Out!

Working from home may be socially alienating. After almost 3 years of doing it, I finally accepted this as a fact. So, apart from balancing your home time with consistent sessions of working outside of your home, you should definitely go out more often. Our normal work routine, the one that is performed in an office, that is, makes for an important slice of our social interaction needs. Once you’re working from home, that slice won’t be there anymore. But your need for social contacts will remain constant.

So, my solution to this was to grow my social interaction significantly over what I was having when I was working in my own office. Going out to movies, running in the park, meeting for drinks or just chat, whatever it takes to get me out of my home/working space. On a one to ten scale, my social life before was around 3 and now is at a steady 7.

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5. Thoroughly Log Each And Every Day

It goes hand in hand with keeping a personal journal, but this time it’s about work, not personal feelings and experiences. Keep a detailed log of each project and be always ready to pick up from where you left one day or one week ago in just a matter of minutes. It’s not only a productivity enhancer, although it will help you be more productive, but it’s more on the accountability area.

When you work from home you’re your own boss. And, for any of you who are (or have been) bosses, this is not an easy position. You gotta keep track of all the information about your team and of every advancement in your projects. That’s what a boss is supposed to do, after all. When you work from home you have to perform this bossy role too, otherwise you will be lost in your own unfinished ideas and endless project stubs faster than you think.

Featured photo credit: Ian Harber via unsplash.com

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