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Efficiency Part 1: The Rudiments

In an age of electronic gadgetry and wizardry, it is easy to get distracted. Ensuring maximum efficiency while producing solid results should be in the mind of every individual within a company.

Being efficient requires discipline and creative thinking. You will need to force yourself to think outside of “the box”. Although solutions will vary from micro to macro, for the purposes of this post we will be concentrating on the big picture – “The Rudiments”

Here are some basic actions that will help your efficiency:

#1. Self-Improvement

Ignorance is a key factor in wasteful time management. Focus on improving your skill and knowledge in the fields you specialize in. Even the most celebrated professionals constantly fine-tune their skills by researching new technologies and trends.

#2. Educate and Document

How many times have you had to repeat instructions to a client or peer? The answer is always the same, “too much”. The way to curb this repetitive cycle is through education: Educate, then document. Once you reach a point where a substantial amount of information has accumulated, create a wiki and refer all questions to it. Also, remember to use already existent resources such as YouTube and forums to your advantage (don’t be scared to just forward links – why waste time rewriting?).

#3. Don’t Multitask

I repeat… do not multitask. A research funded by Hewlett Packard, conducted in the University of London conclusively reported, “Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.” Juggling tasks and and communication is the the ultimate enemy. Even if it means calling back a client 5 minutes later or responding to an IM right after a conversation, you will start to notice that your completion time per action will decrease significantly.

#4. Planning and Scheduling

Deadlines, angry customers and spoiled food – it all comes down to your scheduling and planning chops. When you buy meat from a supermarket it has a due date. If you don’t use that meat within the specified period, it goes to waste or you run the risk of contacting food poison (which isn’t very fun). Either way, you lose time or resources. The way around this is coordinated and scheduled action. Keep a calendar or a daily to-do-list, as long as you maintain some sort of control and planning,your life will become more efficient.

Jack Napier