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6 Ways To Get More Done With Your Time

6 Ways To Get More Done With Your Time

You just sat at your desk for 3 hours and you realized all you accomplished was starting the email you had to write, checked the weather and beat your best level on Flappy Bird. It happens to the best of us.  Sometimes it is hard to get focused and buckle down.

We say that we want to get more done, and then we just don’t have the time or energy, and we don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you move in the right direction.

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1. Spend more time working.

Hold the phone! You mean, I need to do more than my regular 40 hours each week?  Nope, that is not what I’m saying at

get more done

    all.  I’m saying schedule your work.  My productivity increases when I started setting specific times for specific tasks, instead of trying to multi-task.

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    There is an amazing tool called the Pomodoro Timer.  It allows you to set the timer for up to 25 minutes, which helps you to stay focused on one task. After 25 minutes, take a quick break and set the timer (or your cell phone timer like me) for 25 minutes again and work on the next project.

    2. Delegate and/or eliminate your work.

    There are probably things that you need to do and there are things you can delegate or outsource.  I read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” and it broke down a couple things that really put it in perspective for me. I had to write out ALL of my tasks that I think needed to be done. Then I had to separate them into the things that were Urgent & Important, the ones that were Urgent & Not Important, the ones that were Important & Not Urgent and then the ones that were Not Important & Not Urgent.

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    For the Not Important & Not Urgent, I was supposed to just let those tasks go.  For the Important & Not Urgent, I could delegate them out. I would suggest creating a process/system around it so when you have someone do it for you, they have the full instructions.  For the others, you can schedule times to get them done. Obviously, do the urgent and important tasks as fast as possible and then create a process or system for the next task, which could be something you delegate out down the road.

    3. Exercise your brain.

    When you do brain exercises, it helps you to be more productive, think faster, and it allows you to be more creative too!  Plus it makes you feel good knowing that you are increasing your brain power, right? Right!

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    4.  Use technology to your advantage.

    Using technology can be a curse and a godsend all at the same time.  Something I have found helpful for me is turning off my internet or using one of the apps that blocks certain websites at certain times to help me get more done.  Also, I use my Google Calendar to plan all of my meetings or completion dates, which helps me to stay up on what needs to be done by when so that I’m not dropping balls.

    5.  Set goals and break them up in to milestones.

    This is important for me because I tend to be a bigger picture person.  I love looking at it as a whole, but then I get overwhelmed, and I don’t get things done like I should.  To solve this problem, I write down the main idea, and then break it up into smaller steps (or milestones) that will help me get to the final goal. When I break it down, I’m not as overwhelmed and I get more done faster.

    6.  Take time for yourself.

    This is kind of like scheduling time for work, but scheduling time for yourself.  When I go 2, 3 or 4 hours without taking a break, I don’t get more done. I start to slack off and my mind starts wandering and then my smart phone comes out, and I’m back to playing Flappy Bird and being unproductive.  But, if I know that after 1 or 2 hours of work, I have 15–20 minutes of “me” time, it helps remind me that I will be able to check my Facebook or do some “me” stuff for a little bit.

    What are some tips or tricks that have worked for you to be more productive and get more done?

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    Last Updated on September 30, 2020

    Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

    Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

    When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

    Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

    Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

    Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

    Effective vs Efficient

    Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

    A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

    Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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    The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

    Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

    When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

    Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

    Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

    The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

    If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

    When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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    • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
    • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
    • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

    Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

    Efficiency in Success and Productivity

    Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

    When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

    Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

    The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

    If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

    Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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    The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

    Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

    Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

    If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

    It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

    Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

    Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

    Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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    By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

    It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

    Bottom Line

    Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

    • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
    • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
    • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

    And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

    More on How to Improve Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
    [2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
    [3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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