Did you know that companies are more likely to consider “hard worker” on your resumè as a red flag? Efficiency is the talk of the town nowadays and productivity managers rave about it while business moguls strive to cultivate it.
But what exactly is an efficient worker? Let’s break it down and learn some expert-approved tips to improve workplace efficiency.
What is an Efficient Worker? Tips to Becoming One
An efficient worker is someone who churns out greater output with smaller input. Otherwise known as smart workers, these people learn the art of doing more for less (time, energy, etc).
Here are a few habits you can build upon to improve productivity as an employee:
Schedule the Priorities
As Stephen Covey, an author and businessman, says, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” This means that building small goals for the day in order of importance helps to improve focus, regulate stress, and ultimately make you more efficient.
Master the Art of Deep Work
Deep work refers to work that requires avid attention and concentration to complete. Efficient workers may be able to tackle difficult work early because they skillfully manage it, not because they are skilled. One way to master deep work is to manage your energy, rather than your time. Do it when you’re fresh and ready to act.
Organize Your To-Do List
An employee’s to-do list is always overflowing with tasks. To be an efficient worker, it’s important to break down the to-do list into matters of importance. The best way to do it is to draw an Eisenhower Matrix: do, plan, delegate, and eliminate.
Divide and Delegate
As an efficient worker, you’re building your work schedule around doing more for less. The Pareto Principle of productivity states that 80% of the consequences are caused by 20% of efforts. Understanding this helps delegate the work by prioritizing matters that bring the most results.
Breaks for Boredom
It might sound a bit superficial but efficient workers schedule more breaks to stretch and it helps improve productivity. The breaks are time and goal-oriented – they aren’t mediated by distractions like unwinding on cell phones. You can follow the Pomodoro Technique for managing time.
Balance Work for Life
Efficient workers lead a healthy lifestyle by keeping a check on their quality of sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a diet that suits their bodies well.
Action Leads Motivation
Procrastination is inevitable when work becomes monotonous. At times like these, all you have to do is start somewhere. If you need to write a report, build the format. If there’s an email you’re putting off, create a random draft of pointers. Like Bruce Lee says, “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
Efficient workers are skillful because they keep an open mind and regularly build habits to improve themselves. Whether that is an arborist sharpening his ax for hours to chop down a tree in minutes, or business magnate Warren Buffet reading books to improve his decision-making – preparing is key to productivity.
Say No Often
Taking up excess work to improve your likeability factor is tempting but efficient workers are good at rejecting tasks that will either hinder their output for the day or commitments that’ll impair their work-life balance.
Efficient Worker vs. Hard Worker vs. Effective Worker: What’s the Difference?
In the world of business, there are three types of workers: efficient workers, hard workers, and effective workers. Let’s differentiate between each.
A hard worker is someone who sets the bar high in terms of productivity and time spent but does not necessarily get work done. They are often swamped with excess work commitments because they couldn’t say no. They also tend to work during their breaks and until late at night to complete their work.
An effective worker is someone who does all the right things – prioritizes high-value tasks, breaks down to-do list items into small goals, and provides high-quality results. They also tend to keep a good attitude and take initiative.
An efficient worker is someone who does all the things right – schedules the most important tasks, delegates excess work, adapts to changes, and manages to do the work by expending less energy and time. Ultimately, this boosts productivity at the workplace by a greater margin.
How to Improve Workplace Efficiency?
Since becoming an efficient worker takes time and most people don’t have a clue on how to restructure their work and life from zero, leaders of a company can formulate a strategy to build a cohesive workplace efficiency culture so productivity levels rise consistently and everyone gets to perform efficiently.
Communication is Key
As a leader, your job entails delegating work and seeing that it is tended to effectively. The best way to do this is to keep lines of communication open but formal. Though sending out emails may be the norm, it isn’t efficient and takes up 28% of an employee’s time. Try using apps like Slack, Trello, or Zoom for automating tasks and scheduling quick meetings.
The best way to improve productivity at the workplace is to reward all employees with incentives – not just the new hires. Thank them often, celebrate with a team dinner or give lazy day coupons for a free pass to arrive late one day of the week.
Check the schedules of your employees regularly, and keep an eye out for any tasks that can be automated like scheduling blog posts in advance through WordPress, sending email reminders for unpaid invoices with Freshbooks, or installing Gusto for automatic payroll generation.
Focus on Feedback
Performance reviews are almost always dreaded by employees so instead of focusing them entirely on where they are lacking, communicate how they can do better and learn what setbacks they are facing. Then ask how you can be of help to them. This helps build a solid connection and makes employees feel their time was spent well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an efficient worker the same as a smart worker?
Yes, an efficient worker is also known as a smart worker mainly because they do all the tasks right. They schedule their to-do list according to value and urgency, take frequent breaks, delegate tasks by matching workers to skill, and best of all, say no when needed.
Are efficient workers achievement-oriented?
Generally, hard workers are achievement-oriented. They spend all of their time working on one task until it is perfect. Efficient workers, on the other hand, delegate their work into chunks of time and complete high-value tasks first then move on to menial tasks.
Efficient Worker: Final Thoughts
Working hard to effectively work as an efficient worker is the key to productivity. With these tips in mind, you can easily master the art of working efficiently and cultivate a productive lifestyle for yourself.