The Joy of Efficiency
There is inherent monotony in every job — across every industry and in every position. Day-in, day-out tasks must be completed to keep business moving forward! But true job dissatisfaction typically stems from inefficient time management and inability to access information productively. No one finds pleasure in a role when they’re “chasing their tail” all day long.
If you’re ready to refocus yourself and your team on what matters — enabling everyone to find real joy in their jobs again — here are a few simple techniques to help you regain control, reenergize your passion, and remember what you loved about your job in the first place.
Waste not, want not — reevaluate and simplify
Simplification involves reevaluating repetitive processes like creating reports, attending meetings, and sending emails. While these tasks were originally intended to increase efficiency, today they’re only adding to an already long and tedious workday. Studies show the average manager spends up to 40% of their time producing reports and 30-60% coordinating and preparing for meetings, while average workers spend 28% reading and answering emails.
Can you imagine how much less time would be wasted if you and your team could get even a percentage of that time back? Smart organizations question the need for generating reports when technology already provides the same information at their fingertips. They don’t schedule meetings for every action or decision. And they implement “No Need to Reply” (NNTR) in email subject lines so employees know when an email is simply informational and requires no response.
In addition to simplifying, encourage your team to take small frequent breaks — like a short walk outside. These breaks help split the workday into more manageable chunks of time so it feels less like a never-ending slog. Although it may seem counterintuitive to accomplishing tasks quickly, you will find that short and well-timed breaks actually boost efficiency in the long term.
The Pomodoro Technique
Many businesses credit the Pomodoro Technique for helping their teams tackle the day more efficiently and more attentively. This technique uses time-blocking to break tasks up into bite-sized pieces so they feel less intimidating and reduce workload-related stress. The core steps within the Pomodoro Technique are as follows:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Work on a task with no distractions.
- When the alarm sounds, take a 5-minute break.
- Repeat the process 3 more times.
- Take a longer 15- to 30-minute break and start again.
More tools for efficient project managers
Shane Green, business magnate and global Fortune 500 organizational culture consultant, suggests a good manager should start their day with a basic to-do list broken down into four main categories:
- Delegate It. Delegating a necessary task to the right team member boosts efficiency.
- Dump It. Don’t cloud the big picture with irrelevant issues — if a task truly does not make a difference, dump it!
- Do It. Focus on completing the most valuable and impactful tasks quickly and efficiently.
- Delay It. Lower-priority, less time-sensitive tasks should be completed when time permits.
Further, consider a robust project management tool to help streamline processes. But buyer beware! A new app may feel like a lifesaver at first, but only if you fully understand its capabilities and use it as intended. For example, many organizations have moved from mainly email communications to chat apps with channel capabilities — in the hope that quick real-time bursts of communication would reduce time spent reading and responding to lengthy emails about specific projects. But there is little efficiency in lateral solutions if they don’t produce intended results. Where is the benefit if instead of being constantly interrupted by emails, you’re now constantly interrupted by nonstop pings, lengthy group chats, and confusing channel conversations?
Finding, learning, and efficiently utilizing a true project management tool like Basecamp, Asana, or Smartsheet actually frees up the time, headspace, and energy your team needs to not just stay focused on the task at hand, but also feel relieved of burdensome tasks. An unburdened team not only feels less stressed, more efficient, and more productive — but finds joy in their jobs!
Tackle your day with these tools in mind and watch your to-do list shrink. When you or your employees are frustrated, productivity — and your bottom line — takes a hit. Efficiency in the workplace is a mood booster, so pull yourself and your team out of that mired down mindset. You will produce more, waste less, and find that joy in your job you’ve been missing.