If you have got a pile of work in front, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating. In an age where people in various industries are expected to manage multiple clients, perform crucial jobs and menial tasks all at once, being organized is crucial. However, things can get overwhelming and stressful quickly.
According to the American Institute of Stress, over 40% of workers say their job is very or extremely stressful. This causes many problems, as employees go into work unwell and unproductive, and even increases the risk of heart problems.
While many workers don’t have the luxury of eliminating stress from their workday, there are plenty of ways you can streamline your daily tasks to be more organized and lower your stress levels.
1. Create a Streamline Process and Stick to it
Every task you do, individually or with a team, should have a process. Each project may have different processes, however, creating processes will make everything run smoothly. If you have existing processes for old projects, make sure new projects can work within those processes or create a new process before you start working on the new project.
Analyze existing processes to make sure they align with the goal of working efficiently and achieving valuable results. A digital tool, such as Wunderlist, can help you keep track of and organize your tasks.
2. Breakdown and Simplify Your Processes
Next, break down your processes into smaller and more manageable steps. Always remember, the simpler the better. Today, most businesses are caught up in the dependencies and decision points within any given project. This is because their processes are complicated. Keep your processes simple, break them down into smaller steps, and focus mainly on the desired outcome.
3. Prioritize Work Based on Urgency
Next, rank each process based on its importance. Look at the list of tasks you have and rate each on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being the least important task and 10 being the most important tasks. Doing this will help you simplify your workflow. Also, it will help you achieve the best outcome at the end of each task.
Are you often staring, horrified, at your intimidating to-do list? And no matter how many tasks you complete, others crop up and replace them immediately? That means you’re constantly on the go and struggling to section off your time.
If this sounds familiar, you may also have experienced the exhausting feeling that this is your work, so you have to complete it and, if you’re good at your job, you shouldn’t be lagging. That’s true for many of us. Even the best of us struggle to keep up with the fast-paced world, so don’t be afraid to delegate certain tasks to others.
Pareto’s Principle states that 20% of inputs create 80% of outputs. So, focus on the 20% of tasks with the highest impact and delegate the rest if possible!
Share your workload with your team. If you’re a senior member of your team, sometimes passing on simpler tasks to junior team members can free up your time, allowing you to focus on complicated tasks. Saving the more complicated and creative tasks for yourself is a great way to inject more interest back into your work.
If you work individually, you can outsource freelancers to help you out with menial tasks. Upwork and Fiverr are great web platforms where you can submit jobs to thousands of freelancers to complete them on your behalf.
5. Optimize Tasks that You Do Regularly
After delegating menial tasks, it’s time to create the most efficient workflow for your remaining tasks. Take what’s left after delegation and find the most efficient way to perform those tasks.
Here’s how you can optimize your tasks efficiently to boost productivity:
- Do similar tasks at once. This frees up time and saves mental effort by benefitting from economies of scale.
- Create a routine by assigning daily or weekly time slots for your tasks. Over time, the tasks become routine for your brain and you’ll perform them on autopilot.
- Use an external brain by dumping all your to-dos in a task management tool, such as todoist or your calendar. Next, set your tasks as recurring and create reminders. This will free up your brain so you can focus on the task at hand instead of thinking about what to do next and when to do it. Further, this will improve your concentration on the task at hand, ultimately boosting your productivity levels.
- Time yourself: Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time allotted to complete it. So, giving yourself a time limit to complete tasks will force you to work more efficiently.
- Document all recurring processes using tools, such as pipefy. This is fundamental for efficient delegation and optimization.
- Create templates for recurring tasks, such as reports, social media posts, and presentations.
- Be creative anytime you encounter a recurring task, ask yourself, “How can I do this more efficiently.”
If you spend most of your day doing busywork, automation can help you significantly. Automation tools, such as email responses, and automatic reminders can help you schedule things ahead of time.
Automation can also help you eliminate some tasks from your workflow, including automatic updates or database synching. For instance, if you’re collaborating with a colleague on a document, instead of wasting time sending updated files back and forth via email, leverage cloud-based file storage so everyone can access the document anytime.
Using tools, such as IFTTT, can help you perform simple automated tasks with apps and sites you use regularly. For instance, you can publish your Facebook posts on LinkedIn and Twitter automatically. Also, you can automate your deliveries with services, such as Amazon Subscribe & Save, which allows you to re-stock your household and personal care items automatically based on your desired schedule.
There are many ways to automate business processes, for example, you can automate your expense reports with Expensify. If you’re looking for suitable tools, perform a simple Google search, such as “how to automate process x,” or can ask people in your network that face similar tasks.
Always be on the lookout for possible ways to improve your workflow and be more productive. Don’t be too satisfied with your current level of efficiency. You can always do things better, and you should always look for ways to improve your productivity and streamline your tasks.
Creating streamlined processes, delegating, optimizing, and automating your tasks, can greatly improve your productivity and improve your work life.
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