“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”

Tim Ferriss once said to “Focus on being productive instead of busy.” I say the same thing over and over. Nearly every day I speak with teams that struggle with ongoing challenges in the workplace.
How productive are you every day? It might feel like you are being productive, but are you getting stuff done, or are you just busy? There is a difference.

The word efficiency is defined as “achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.” So, what does this mean in practice and why is it important?

Efficiency in the workplace is extremely important because if employees are not functionally efficiently, the company is ultimately wasting money. When team is frustrated and morale are low, work is not enjoyable, team’s productivity is low and energy levels are low. This can only lead to longer time processing daily tasks, increase of manpower, purchasing expensive software that won’t help, or even higher turnover. In all cases -increase of costs.

Think about your office environment - there is someone who is busy all day, but when you sit down with them and ask them what they actually achieved you will probably find that it was not much. The reason for this is that many people are not able to manage their time efficiently and aren’t able to prioritise what needs to be done.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”

Teaching people how to manage their time and how to prioritize their work is one of the most important skills that every company should take the time to teach their employees. Increasing efficiency is also not about working employees harder but it is about making sure that an organisation functions efficiently and profitably.

The days of clocking in at 8am and clocking out at 5pm are largely behind us because people have figured out how to work smarter and more efficiently. Five productive and efficient hours are worth more than 8 unproductive, inefficient hours. If an employee can do their work for the day in 5 hours, there is no reason for them to hang around the office, that is when they start to become inefficient.

How can you be more efficient at the office:

  • Plan - Planning is essential to efficiency. When you know exactly what you need to do and how you are going to do it, it makes it much easier to get it done.
  • Set a timer for your breaks - Taking breaks is important but set a time limit for each break so that you know when to be back at your desk.
  • Keep your desk clean - Time spent looking for files and documents under clutter and chaos is time wasted. Keep your work environment clean, organised and neat.
  • Turn off distractions - Switch your phone to silent, turn email notifications off for a set amount of time each day to allow you to get work down without distractions and interruptions.
  • Delegate - If it is possible to delegate work, delegate. There are certain tasks that can easily be delegated, allowing you more time to focus on what you really need to get done.
  • Limit back to back meetings - Meetings are needed sometimes but make sure you leave time in between to debrief after wards and prepare for the next one. Meetings seldom improve efficiency.
  • Working efficiently doesn't mean you are working harder, it means you are making the most of your work hours so that you have more time to do the things you really want to.

    If you need any further advice, drop us a line, we are here to help. If you would like to know how to be more productive, rather than busy ..
    ... we are ready when you are

    Magda Lupicka - Shiny Solutions Founder

    Magda is a Data Analyst, Business Process Improvement Lead with passion for technology, numbers and improving processes. Certified LEAN & Sigma practitioner. Powered by quality over quantity.