Are you someone who puts in double the effort to get the task completed way before the deadline? Or have you completed your to-do list for the day and realized you have several hours more to go before you’re done for the day? If yes, then you have fallen into the efficiency trap at work.
Efficiency at work in a nutshell means that you utilize the number of hours for the day to complete the tasks at hand. If you’re under the impression that the more tasks you complete in the day makes you an outstanding employee, then you’re mistaken. Understand that by completing as many tasks you can is not the hallmark of an outstanding professional.
Being extra efficient in this case is not always beneficial and it can backfire. When you’ve completed all your tasks for the day, you’ll be left with very little or nothing else to do for the remaining hours. Instead, you’ll try to look busy or will end up using that spare time to help a coworker with their work. Additionally, once you have habituated over efficiency at work, people will naturally expect you to deliver your tasks way before deadlines, or overload you with more work. If you don’t live up to their expectations, they might think you’re becoming inefficient or incapable.
So if you want to avoid falling into the efficiency trap at work, try these tips:
1. Take your time
When you are working on a project, instead of chipping away right at it, take your time, put your heart into it. Enjoy the process and give your very best. You can do that once substantial amount of research and understanding has been put into it. Perhaps you can look at your work objectively, though someone else’s eyes. How else could you do it better? Is there any room for improvement? Take time to run through your work and see how else you could sharpen it.
2. Let things sit and come back to them.
When you have been gazing at your work the whole day, your mind can get hazy and tired. In order to deliver an all-rounded work, you firstly need to be in focused but contented mind and body. So give yourself a break. Step away from your desk from time to time and divert your mind with other things. Or simply grab a cup of coffee. Once you feel rejuvenated, come back and continue from where you left off. Avoid going on an unimaginable streak without having any breaks in between just so you can complete the work soonest you can. It will leave you feeling burnout and your efficiency drops substantially.
3. Check your work
You might think your work is pure perfectionist (maybe it is), but there’s no harm in going through your work once again to check for errors. The time you put into ensuring your work is free from grammatical errors, miscalculation or misspellings, adds confidence to your foolproof work.
4. Phone a friend
If you want impeccable results, you have to be open to suggestions and opinions given by others. If you want to ensure your project or assignment is noteworthy, then get a friend, coworker or your personal mentor to have a look and guide in areas you can improve on. Getting another pair of eyes and second opinion will always benefit you. As the person crafting the framework and contents of the project, it can get overwhelming. There could be an oversight or loopholes you didn’t know were there which can be rectified if someone else gives it a dry run. Never feel ashamed, embarrassed or shy from reaching out. Instead, have an open mind and understand that everything is a learning experience.