In a more general sense of the word, Efficiency is the ability to do things well, successfully, and without any waste of energy, time or money. In business, it could be seen as an increase in speed and quality at a reduced or no cost.
Efficiency vs Effectiveness
“Effectiveness is doing the right thing while Efficiency is doing the thing right.”
Many times at work, they may be way too much going on around you and within your mind. It’s actually no surprise that awareness makes only a temporary appearance in the day and is difficult to sustain, especially when we have a lot of Jobs requiring our attention. Below are methods you may adopt to rise above the distractions and improve on your efficiency at work.
1. Do One Thing at a time
You could find yourself all caught up on a project against a fast-approaching deadline, your boss comes in and hands over another entirely different Job for you to also complete at a short time. In the middle of all this, you get a call from your wife at home, asking you to help her out with an address she cannot find in her mobile. Your target is to complete these three tasks, say, within an hour. Multi-tasking would mean you giving 33 per cent of your efforts to each of the three tasks and the quality of output will be low for all three tasks with more time spent on each of them.
A Life Coach, Capt. Vinod Nair suggests you prioritise what is most important for you especially when you have two or more tasks to accomplish.
“By doing so, you will be giving 100 per cent of your brain to one task at a time, focusing on it and accomplishing it twice as fast, ” Vinod says.
2. Five More Minutes
Whenever you are in the middle of a task and you get tempted to give up, push yourself to do for ‘five more minutes’. This entails that you don’t switch yourself off; instead, you wait five more minutes, read five more pages or work five more minutes. Doing this will not only help you builds trust, but will also enable you build mental stamina just as sports persons push past the point of exhaustion to up their physical strength.
When your mind is finally giving up, insist on reading a book or writing a project brief or solving a balance sheet problem for five more minutes or doing something (any favourite hobby) you love that isn’t about the task. This will build mental endurance over a period of time and help you accomplish a given task with greater ease.
3. Look and Feel
An artists, Frederick Franck once said,
“When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted.”
Your mind may be wandering through a million random thoughts, but it always recognizes to treasure a great sight. So when your mind is far away, it will help to look around and for a change, actually see everything around you. Admire the painting on the wall, revel in the beauty of the sculpture that has always escaped your attention, or just look again and closely at a loved one you tend to take for granted. This will make it come alive in your mind’s eye. Having white noise in the background such as instrumental music will help you resist the further distracting stimuli from your surroundings.
4. Replenish with Eustress
Do you know that: indulging in activities that boost the eustress, is basically the good stress?
Eustress actually means a beneficial stress— either psychological, physical, or biochemical/radiological. The term was coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye, consisting of the Greek prefix eu– meaning “good“, and stress, literally meaning “good stress” (Wikipedia)
You may feel eustress after engaging in a challenge, riding a rollercoaster, watching a scary movie or having sex.
Eustress doesn’t carry the same type of damage as chronic stress. In fact, the eustress energies of the mind are highly focused and organized which can propel you you pull off tasks with competence and ease. What also greatly aids concentration is the glucose metabolism in the brain, which is at its peak after breakfast. At this time of distress, it’s been to concentrate on the most important or difficult tasks.
5. Manage your time
Time management is an important skill you must learn if you must be productive in your task. It entails conscious planning and exercising of time-control in activities, with the goal of improving effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
Accroding to hbrascend.org, effective time management at work is frustrated by a number of factors, such as unanticipated crises or sudden illness of a coworker. These factors may be beyond your control, however, many time-management problems originate in individual behavior and habits – self-imposed time robbers.
6. To Do or Not To Do
Always try not to worry about issues. When you are about to begin a task that needs your complete attention, worries tend to float into your brain. Tackle your brain’s never-ending preoccupation by telling it what to worry about and what not to. Just remind yourself that you will worry about that unpaid bill later, and not now so as not to allow you come in the way of any task.
To-do lists alleviate your brain’s anxiety — once written, you’re free to forget them. Assign every task a strict time-frame. Tell on for example, “For the next 30 minutes I will focus on formulating the client brief for tomorrow’s presentation at office,” is a better bet than worrying about the worry. That being said, taking short breaks between demanding tasks helps keep your mind alert. A short break of 5-10 minutes every two/three hours can also help improve efficiency of the brain at work with sustained attention.
7. Re-wire your Brain
Just before you start any task, learn to focus on your breathing for 5 to 10 minutes each day. Doing this can make a significant difference to your attention spans in everyday life. Mediation is also a good efficiency tool. Meditation increased activity in the brain regions used for awareness and decision-making. Experience has shown that people who uses the mindfulness technique (Meditation), are able to switch attention between tasks more efficiently than people who do not. Meditation has rewired their brain processes in a way that their awareness spans have increased more than average.
8. Take a Walk.
I remember sometime ago; when ever I had my brain all heated up and needed to cool off, I just take a walk down the streets and back, and it gets my nerves and brain all revived.
When the communication that exist between the two hemispheres of your brain is efficient, you are able to accomplish tasks with greater attention and proficiency. Scientific experiments have shown that horizontal movement of the eyes from left to right while watching a target on the move for at least 30 seconds can help improve communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Try this type of eye movement by watching a certain car move in the traffic.
Procrastination is the fear of success.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
Stop putting off tasks and errands by simply asking yourself these questions whenever you are about to postpone any work:
Do I have to do this?
Do I want it done so that it’s not on my mind?
Will it be any easier later?
The answers to these will give you an instant check on how this task will keep getting counter-productive the more you delay. And oh, the guilt of not getting it done, that will make its home in your head too.
“It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the master work. Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.” — Paulo Coelho
(Credit: TNN, Idiva.com)