Often it is not just what we do that makes us efficient but how we do it. Automation revolutionized factory work because machines could do the same jobs of humans quicker and more reliably. Humans do not need to be replaced by machines to improve efficiency though. By simply tweaking our workflow we can become more productive and make our jobs less stressful. Here are a few tips for improving your workflow.
1. Plan Ahead
Preparation is an important yet often overlooked factor in improving workflow. Having a plan allows you to be proactive rather than reactive. You can plan how your work should be done as well as create contingency plans for the many times things do not go as planned. This preparation can increase confidence and save time in the long run because you are not simply responding to situations that were never considered before.
2. Change the order in which you do tasks
A simple change in the order in which tasks are performed can increase both productivity and job satisfaction. Generating complex weekly reports on Friday afternoon may seem logical but Friday afternoons may not be the time that you are at your productive peak. Generating the reports in the morning and doing less challenging tasks in the afternoon may put you in a better mood for the weekend and allow you to use your time more effectively.
3. Keep track of accomplishments
It is easy to get discouraged and forget the many tasks that you have accomplished. A simple checklist or some other form of documentation can help you in down times to recognize exactly how valuable your contributions are. Keeping tabs of the tasks you accomplish and when they are completed can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can modify your workflow accordingly.
As comfortable as you may be working alone it often requires a diverse team to achieve goals. Every team member has a specialty and different point of view. These resources in addition to the time that more people can put into a project makes collaboration an important tool which affects workflow.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but can be a good start for increasing your productivity and becoming more efficient at your job. Changing your workflow may also affect your mood and your attitude so there are also personal benefits to improving the way you do regular tasks.