The crucial skill in today’s business world is surely the ability to work fast and effictively. The problem is though, that too often we try to get things done quickly that their quality of work really suffers. So how can you double the speed at which you work and still keep your work quality high? Try these 4 techniques:
1. USE A TIMER ON EVERY MAJOR TASK.
One of the most pertinent concepts in business is Parkinson’s Law, which states that “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it”. If you leave the amount of time you’ll devote to a task open ended, then you will almost always take more time to complete it. Conversely, if you set a clear amount of time to do each task, you’ll work far more rapidly, as you attempt to beat the clock. As an added bonus, if you challenge yourself like this, the finished product will always be so much sweeter.
2. PRETEND YOUR DAY ENDS AT 11AM.
Each morning when you start work, behave as though you can no longer work past 11am. If you knew you had to go home at that point, yet you still wanted to achieve some really worthwhile jobs, what would you do? Create a small list then start on those important tasks immediately. The 11am technique works brilliantly because it forces you to take action quickly on what really counts. The average person has done virtually nothing of consequence by 11am: they have chatted with their co-workers, checked their emails, grabbed a coffee and perhaps planned their day. What if you were not that average person, what if you were the exception, who has all of their meaty tasks done by 11am.
3. WORK AT HOME FOR AN HOUR EACH DAY.
Let's face it, no one wants to work in the confines of the same four walls everyday. In actual fact, corporate offices are not actually good environments to get work done (shock, right?). The interruptions are constant, the emails ever growing and with most open plan offices the noise is often agitating. You would have to have the concentration levels of a Chess Grandmaster to achieve a lot in such a situation. To counteract this problem, designate 60 minutes each morning to working quietly in the confines of your own home. You would be surprised the amount you can get through whilst you are comfortable in the presence of your own thought. If you allow yourself to focus at home for only sixty minutes each morning you will not only get more tasks completed in a day, but you'll also walk into work more prominent and ready to face the day. Who wouldn't love that?
4. TRY TO DO UNIMPORTANT TASKS WITHIN TEN MINUTES.
You will never reach a high state of achievement if you give the same time importance to tasks of low value as you give to those of high value. Yet so many people do exactly this. Numerous times a day they give trivial tasks more time than they rightly deserve, then find they are short of time to get the crucial stuff done. You must get through those unimportant jobs at break neck speed– do them only well enough that people don’t complain. The work day is just too short and your To Do List just too long for you to give trivia more than the bare minimum of time. Several times a day, set yourself the goal of getting this unimportant stuff done in ten minutes or less. This technique alone can often give you an extra 90 minutes a day. How much faster could you work than you are currently doing? Honestly, don't sweat the small stuff.
Whilst all of these techniques are important, the most integral part of all is to focus. After all, you don't get what you want and you don't get what you need... You only get what you focus on.