7 Secrets to Being Efficient and Effective At Work

September 16, 2019 • April Miller


Would you like to be more efficient and effective at work? You strive to do your best at work, but maybe you struggle with accomplishing goals. How do you manage when there isn’t enough time in the day for all your tasks?

Or when you finish assignments on time but don’t get the reviews you expected? The answer is simple — re-evaluate your techniques.

The key to being efficient and effective at work lies in acknowledging areas for improvement. Once you recognize these, you can implement steps to solve them.

There are many ways to devise an improved workflow, but to keep it simple, you can dive into eight helpful tips right here. To start, though, you should know about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.

What Is Efficiency?

Efficiency focuses on your productivity in terms of speed and conservation. How fast are you completing tasks? How long does it take you to conduct a meeting or hold a conference call? How much input did your output require?

Most organizations strive to carry out operations efficiently because it means they’re aware of their time. They don’t waste a minute on unimportant tasks if they can help it. Efficient workers avoid using materials and energy on processes they know won’t yield adequate results.

Being efficient at work can look different depending on your industry, but you generally want to reduce your input levels while keeping output high. This ability takes practice to master, so don’t sweat it if it doesn’t come immediately.

Consider how you typically complete a day’s work and which areas you can cut down. Do you spend a lot of time clicking the mouse when you could use keyboard shortcuts instead? Are your files stored in accessible folders, or do you have to hunt for them?

Sometimes your efficiency wanes — it’s not possible to be at 100% all day, every day. When this happens, you’ll do better to focus on maintaining your effectiveness. You can still generate good work even if it takes longer. If it’s a day where you can’t afford to lose efficiency, do an activity to revive your energy such as a two-minute warm-up.

What Is Effectiveness?

You ensure the quality of your output when you practice effectiveness. You may be efficient at getting tasks done, but are they done well? Are they detailed and up to standard? Have you cut corners on value to increase your speed?

Being effective at work means you acknowledge your company standards and complete assignments that fit them. If a landing page you designed yields a higher rate of conversions, the effort you put in was effective.

Most people want to produce work that meets the desired goal. You know the value of skilled labor whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur. Because of this, effectiveness tends to focus more on quality than costs or time spent.

However, the worker who combines both excels at their job — they generate high-standard results with the least amount of exertion. Practice mastering the two with some of your larger projects. You’ll learn how to tackle an increased workload with fewer steps.

Put It in Action

Now that you know the difference, you can think more productively about how to upgrade your working style. Here are some tips for a detailed look at being effective and efficient:

  1. Plan it out: A routine prevents you from losing track during the workday. Give yourself a strategy to avoid wasting time figuring out what to do next. Don’t go wild with making mile-long to-do lists, though — plan out a handful of tasks each day.
  2. Use your energy to your advantage: Do the hardest assignments at your most dynamic hour, and leave small things for your less-focused moments.
  3. Do deep work: Industry leaders define deep work as a period where you concentrate on only one task. Break your multitasking habits by giving yourself an hour or two to work on one thing.
  4. Create a productive space: A clean space fosters a clear mind. Design your office for maximum productivity by keeping only the essentials on hand. Put your phone away until lunch break if you’re prone to checking it. Don’t hesitate to add a dash of personality with decor, though — a bare desk can feel sterile and uncomfortable.
  5. Keep a positive outlook: It’s harder to perform well when you dislike your job, so keep an optimistic mindset. Believe in your strengths and practice gratitude.
  6. Have a backup plan: You can’t predict everything that happens in life — especially sudden incidents. Establish a plan for refocusing your energy in case your schedule gets derailed.
  7. Take breaks: Yes, even the hardest worker still needs a break. Avoid burnout by stepping away from your desk and taking a moment to relax.

Construct a Better Workday

You’ll become a professional at being efficient and effective at work after incorporating these methods. Remember to keep a positive mindset, and continually look for ways to improve your performance. Your colleagues will notice your dedication to the craft.