Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Work More Efficiently and Stop Rushing to Meet Deadlines

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

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

How to Work More Efficiently and Stop Rushing to Meet Deadlines 10 Best Ted Talks About Procrastination That Will Ignite Your Motivation How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them 10 Ways to Build Positive And Effective Work Relationships 17 Practical Money Skills that Will Set You Up for Early Retirement

Trending in Focus

1 What Is Decision Fatigue And How To Combat It 2 What Is Block Scheduling? (And How It Boosts Productivity) 3 How to Work More Efficiently and Stop Rushing to Meet Deadlines 4 10 Negative Effects of Social Media That Can Harm Your Life 5 The 5 Stages of Getting Over Cell Phone Distraction

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 3, 2021

What Is Decision Fatigue And How To Combat It

What Is Decision Fatigue And How To Combat It

How often have you had the experience of needing to make tough decisions that pull you in different directions? You go round and round in circles and, in the end, you either flip a coin or make a snap decision because you’re just too tired to think anymore. Or maybe, you simply put off reaching a decision indefinitely, which is sometimes easier than making a tough call.

Can you relate to this currently? If so, then you’re likely suffering from decision fatigue. Poor decisions are made not because of incapability but because arriving at one or more choices takes its toll—to the extent that it severely weakens our mental energy.

Now that we know what decision fatigue is, let’s explore the primary ways to combat it to enable a stronger mental state coupled with better decision-making.

1. Identify and Make the Most Important Decisions First

If you have a busy personal or work life where many tricky decisions are on the table every day, this can easily and quickly become overwhelming. In this instance, create mental space by initially laying out all situations and challenges requiring a decision. Use a basic software tool or write them down on paper—a notepad file or word document is sufficient.

Once you have your complete list, carefully pick out the most important items needing a conclusion sooner rather than later. Be mindful of the fact that you can’t treat everything as urgent or requiring immediate attention. There have to be some things that are more important than others!

Prioritize and Declare the Appropriate Options

Equipped with your most pressing items awaiting decisions, add another layer of scrutiny by prioritizing them even further. The result should allow you to identify, in order, your most urgent and important tasks without any conflicting priorities.

The last part of this exercise is to highlight all of the options to consider for your most important decision and work through them one by one. With the visual representation of options and most critical decisions out the way first, you’ll be able to think more clearly and prevent decision fatigue from subtly kicking in.

Advertising

2. Implement Daily Routines to Automate Less Important Decisions

“Shall I have a healthy lunch today?” “Should I wake up earlier tomorrow?” “What time should I prepare dinner tonight?”

As trivial as these questions appear to be, each one still requires a decision. Stack them on top of other straightforward everyday questions in addition to more significant ones, and things can start to add up unpleasantly.

Small or less important decisions can eat away at your time and productivity. When many other decisions need to be made in parallel, it can lead to decision fatigue. However, there’s a method to avoid this. It involves streamlining aspects of your life by automating repetitive decisions, and this drives the ability to make better decisions overall.[1]

It’s Your Routine—Control It to Create Time for Other Activities

Instead of having to decide multiple times per week if you should have a healthy lunch, create a daily routine sufficiently ahead of time by dictating what healthy food you’ll eat for lunch every day. In doing so, you’re putting that particular decision on autopilot. Your predefined routine commits you to a decision immediately and without hesitation.

Invest time into highlighting all of the trivial and recurring situations requiring decisions daily, then implement a collective routine that relieves the need for you to give them much thought (if any thought at all).

3. Put a Time Limit on Every Decision

Making complex or big decisions increases the risk of draining your energy. This is especially true if you struggle with the fear of making the wrong decision. The doubt and worry bouncing around inside continuously are enough for the majority of people to become fed up and exhausted.

To make good decisions, you need to be in the right position to act. A tactic to deploy is to essentially force yourself to act by setting a time limit on your decision-making process. What might seem a little daunting—given that it can create a sense of added pressure—actually provides clarity on when you need to conclude since you can see the end in sight.

Advertising

Grow in Confidence by Reducing Hesitation

After making the decision, it’s time to move on. You’ll feel good and build self-confidence knowing that you didn’t linger on the choices available.

Only consider revisiting a previous decision if something unexpected occurs that impacts it. If that’s the case, then follow the same process by ensuring you make the revised decision before a new deadline.

4. Seek Input From Other People—Don’t Decide Alone

There’s a time and place to make decisions alone, but sometimes, it’s appropriate to involve others. If there’s any degree of struggle in reaching a verdict, then seeking opinions from people in your network can lessen the mental burden of indecisiveness.

Do you feel comfortable seeking input from other people to help make decisions? Trust and feeling secure in your relationships are crucial to answer “yes” to this question.

Explore the Thoughts of Others and Gain a Different Perspective

An insecure business leader likely won’t trust their team(s) to help them make decisions. On the other hand, an assured and secure business leader realizes they don’t “know it all.” Instead of going solo on all work-related decisions, they install trust among their team and get the support required to arrive at the best possible decisions.

The ability to make a great decision can depend on the information related to it that’s at your disposal. When faced with a difficult choice, don’t be afraid to lean on the relevant people for help. They can offer valid alternatives that are otherwise easy to overlook or hold the key to you making a well-informed decision.

5. Simplify and Lower the Number of Available Options

You’re standing in the store, facing an aisle of more than 20 varieties of peanut butter. You have no idea which one to choose, and although there are subtle differences, they all look fairly similar. No doubt you’ve been in this situation at least once in the past (maybe with a substitute for peanut butter!).

Advertising

This is a classic example of having too many choices—an event that makes you prone to decide to do nothing or waste time by continually pondering on which product to buy.

According to the psychological concept known as choice overload, simply having too many options can be disruptive and overburdening, causing decision fatigue.[2] Using the example above, you might make the easiest choice of avoiding any further thought, which often results in the purchase of the wrong item.

Extract Meaningful Information and Evaluate Options With a Binary Outcome

To simplify and lower your range of options, leverage the information available and extract what’s most important for you to make a decision. Is it the price? The protein content? Whether it has sustainable packaging or a combination of multiple details?

Keep a tight lid on having too many important components. Prioritize if necessary, and implement a binary outcome (of “yes” or “no” / “true” or “false”) to help arrive at decisions earlier, such as defining a limited price range that the product must fall within.

6. Eliminate Unnecessary Distractions

Arguably, attention is the currency of the modern world. The ability to concentrate better than the next person can mean the difference between a successful student, a thriving business, a happy parent, and a great decision-maker.

So, how can you improve your attention span to make better choices and avoid decision fatigue? There are many strategies, and one of the most optimal ways is to eliminate distractions. Today, the easiest distractions are a result of technology and the devices running it—all of which are at your fingertips 24/7.

Create Extended Periods of Time to Increase Focus

These distractions might be small or large, but the broader issue is the frequency of them, and they repeatedly cause a break in your focus. Dealing with this while trying to make the right decision can be mentally debilitating.

Advertising

Technology distractions commonly relate to email, instant messages, push notifications from mobile apps, and scrolling through social media feeds. Access to all of these technologies and tools must be limited to scheduled time blocks (ideally, using a calendar if it’s during a working day).

Switch off notifications entirely to all of the above to prevent distractions (where possible) when it’s not time to look at them. This enables you to think more deeply and focus for prolonged periods of time, ultimately boosting the chances of making good decisions.

Final Thoughts

Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon that can deplete energy levels and increase stress. It can affect anyone who has to make decisions, whether they are minor or major ones.

Overcoming decision fatigue needs patience and dedication. By applying the best practices discussed in this article, you’ll be on the path to implement valuable changes. These changes will increase your productivity, as well as drastically improve your consistency and ability to make the right choices.

More About Decision Fatigue

Featured photo credit: Jake Melara via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] FlexRule: Decision Automation
[2] Behavioral Economics: Choice Overload

Read Next