Teach Yourself How to Work Faster With These 8 Tips

October 8, 2019 • Shannon Flynn


You might wonder why your coworkers fly by with certain assignments while you require more time. It’s not because they’re better workers — it’s because they use different time management techniques. Efficient workers figure out the best tips and tricks to use for finishing work on time, and they employ these every time they get behind the desk.

Their strategies aren’t a total mystery, however. Anyone can achieve a personal productivity goal if they try, and you only need the motivation to make it run smoothly. Look below for eight helpful tips on how to work faster so you can leave your office feeling more accomplished.

1. Store Away Your Electronic Devices

A study from the University of California Irvine revealed that it takes at least 20 minutes to refocus when you take your attention away from one task. Those are 20 minutes you could spend working at your highest efficiency, but it’s challenging to achieve that with constant distractions. Solve the bulk of this problem by turning off any electronics you don’t need for work and putting them away. Keep them somewhere out of reach so you’re not tempted to reach for them.

A short break to check notifications sounds like a practical idea at first, but you can lose a lot of time scrolling through your feeds.

2. Shut Out Your Inbox

A million emails pile up in your inbox within hours — checking each one as they come in is a major mistake. Assign a portion of your schedule to open your inbox instead of routinely pausing your work to read and reply to messages. Your email session can come at the beginning or middle of your day, but it should be a time that doesn’t interfere with the rest of your work.

The full inbox is a time-stealing beast for any modern worker, but you can tackle it with a touch of cleverness.

3. Separate Large Projects Into Small Tasks

Break expansive projects into easy-to-handle portions to avoid spreading yourself thin or procrastinating from stress. The key to this tip is to avoid spending too much time during the planning stage. Taking hours to decide on your preferred methods costs you the time you could spend chipping away at the project.

It’s okay to dedicate one day to break the project apart and another to develop each component. But don’t fall into an insidious form of procrastination by focusing on the plan rather than the assignment itself.

4. Reflect on Your Current Productivity Methods

What are you doing now to improve your speed at work, if anything? Not every method will work for every person. Analyze what suits you and change it for something else if it doesn’t prove effective.

Make timed decisions to avoid mulling over work issues for hours. Give yourself a specific timeframe to think it out, and put your plan to action afterward. This technique can help with deciding on which time management skills to employ and with finding answers to complicated business decisions.

5. Use a Timer

Time yourself on assignments and try to finish your work before the clock is up. You’ll go over on the first few occasions, but as you become used to working on a timeline, it’ll be easier to stay within the time blocks. Not using a timer causes you to spend longer on projects because you’re not constrained by a limit. You don’t feel pressure to complete them by a deadline, and you work slower as a result. Kick this habit by using the Pomodoro method on your next big task.

6. Leave Tiny Goals Off Your To-Do List

Yes, a list of daily objectives will help you work faster, but you have to be wise about what you write down. Some people pile a bunch of insignificant tasks onto their tod-lists, such as checking emails or stopping for coffee, which provides the visual effect of a longer day than what they really have. In turn, they begin to feel overwhelmed and start procrastinating tasks again.

If you know replying to your coworker will only take five minutes at best, do it right then and there instead of writing it. Leave your list for medium-sized and big projects.

7. Take Short Breaks

Sounds counterintuitive to your goal, right? Not so! Powering through your work at breakneck speed can cause you to burn out quickly. Short breaks between the excitement give you time to let off steam and recharge yourself before hitting the keys again. An efficient employee is a fast one, but they also know when to take a breather to avoid running into exhaustion. Plus, you prevent yourself from getting bored and inevitably turning to unhelpful distractions.

8. Set a System for Prioritizing Work

Do you want to finish your biggest tasks first, or are you more inclined to start on the ones with the closest due dates? Develop a prioritization system to fit your working style. You may be the type who likes to knock out little tasks in groups and start on big projects later. Whichever way you arrange your system depends on what works best for you, but ensure it meets your time requirements at the same time. https://productivitytheory.com/why-are-some-workers-more-productive-than-others/

Try a Faster Workflow

You’ll work faster in no time with these eight tips for enhancing your speed. Try them out and see which ones make your workdays seamlessly flow together. Say goodbye to office overtime and hello to more freedom in your schedule.