2 Principles to Follow to be Efficient and Effective at Work
Don’t wait until your boss will tell you that you’re only busy of doing nothing despite of the exhausting tasks you have done. You perform tenths of loads every day but it seems that you have no output – in short, you’re not productive.
The worst if you will be kicked out from your job because your boss sees that you are less important in the success of his company.
Before we proceed, let’s first find out the summary of the difference between efficiency and effectiveness according to DifferenceBetween.net.
- Efficiency means doing the things right whereas Effectiveness is about doing the right things.
- Efficiency focuses on the process or “means” whereas Effectiveness focuses on the end.
- Efficiency is restricted to the present state whereas effectiveness involves thinking long term.
- Organizations have to be both effective and efficient in order to be successful.
Apply the 80/20 Rule
If you are working as in-house visual merchandiser and graphic designer in a department store, part of your job is to make price tags, to change posters, to fix some damages in the store, to carry a ladder and hang signage and so on.
Other staff may think that you are a jack of all trades and you will be called to do this or to do that, and if you do not know how set your priorities, you’ll be very busy yet unproductive. So what you need to do is to apply the 80/20 Principle.
Focus on the 20% of stuff that is important and ignore the 80% that is not because the 20% important stuff results to 80% productivity and the 80% not important stuff only results 20% productivity. The 80/20 rule is the idea that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
This rule is also known as Pareto principle or the law of the vital few. In this case, you must have good judgment on which work is to be put as top priority of the day.
Apply the Parkinson’s Law
The Parkinson’s Law states, “Work expands to fill the time available.” By setting deadline for every task, you can minimize the wastage time.
Let’s have this nice statement and example from Prof. Cyril Northcote Parkinson.
General recognition of this fact is shown in the proverbial phrase ‘It is the busiest man who has time to spare.’ Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half an hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar box in the next street. The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.
Here are some specific things we can do base on the 80/20 Rule and Parkenson’s Law:
- Make a to-do-list, putting on the top the most important ones then choose to accomplish the 20% most important stuff and eliminate the 80% that is not so important.
- Learn to say NO to any request until you finish your top 20% priorities.
- Use ergonomic tools and set-up ergonomic environment.
- Apply automation for repetitive tasks.
- Set specific time to check your e-mail, to view your Facebook wall or to post update at twitter.
- Organized your workplace. Set everything in order to find each tools and materials easily.
- Do not set and start a meeting without agenda.
- Delegate other tasks which are performable by others.
- Batch those repetitive works. Check my posts How to Make 100 Plum Blossoms in Less Than 90 Minutes at The Visual Merchandising Blog as an example of batching.
- Optimize your procedure. There are always the best steps in every task and you have to find them; don’t be contented on the status quo.
- Set deadline for every task and discipline yourself to meet your own deadline.
- Avoid destruction by hanging “Please don’t disturb” signage.
These are only few of the ideas to make you efficient and effective; it’s you tasks to find out more.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons