4 Ways to be More Effective at Work

We explore 4 key ways in which you can be more effective at work. Written by Letícia Miranda.

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Finding ways to be more productive and efficient at work is a skill that is highly desired by professionals all over the world. At times, particularly with the rise in remote working, it’s easy to feel that the number of tasks and the complexity of them is increasing exponentially each day. The saying ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’ certainly rings true for a lot of us now. So how can we change that and what can we do to ensure we’re more effective at work? We’ll explore 4 key ways in which you can be more effective at work.

In an article published on the Harvard Business Review website, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, respectively CEO and President of Zenger / Folkman, a leadership development consultancy, addressed the issue, commenting that ‘effectiveness in carrying out work’ is the most important skill on a list of 16. Other evaluations placed it as the fourth most important, behind inspiration and motivation, integrity and honesty and problem solving. Either way, it’s seen as pretty crucial to workplace success.

“We recognize that there are many parts of a job that are important, but if you want to advance your career, it may be time to double the amount of tasks you have done - that's what your boss wants to see," argue the authors. Zenger and Folkman also highlight that most managers know they have a lot to do, and that slow, unfocused people are rarely promoted to senior management positions. The leaders we know already work hard and for many hours, but they know that these are not viable options. In the short term, these leaders collapse and if they take their teams on the same path, everyone ends up burnt out and even less productive.

Productivity is one of the most desired characteristics of employees in the current job market. In fact, being able to produce results quickly is a useful skill not just professionally but personally too. However, in some situations, an employee may end up getting lost in the number of tasks they have to perform. If you live your life with a full ‘to-do list’ and feel that you never have time to produce results or check the tasks of your list, check out below tips that can help you become a more effective person at work:

1. Consciously Manage your Time
Knowing how to manage time is particularly important, which is why we’re putting it at the top of our tips. More than planning and managing a routine, consciously managing time won’t always go to plan. This requires a level of maturity and focus in knowing how to deal with unforeseen circumstances and possible unexpected obstacles. Lack of rest, excessive activities and laziness are all distractions likely to contribute to fumbling and fail to meet your obligations. Start by preparing a daily or weekly routine but factor in time within it for unforeseen tasks. Stick to a morning starting time for work and factor in an hour or two, if possible, to begin working before colleagues do. This will allow you to spend the rest of your day being proactive, rather than reactive.

2. Know How to Make Good Decisions
This one is easier said than done but research, practice and learning from mistakes can help here. Whatever decisions you need to make, look at your challenges, objectives and problems, and try to divide them into different perspectives, whilst identifying available options. Making a list of negative and positive points can help you to make the right choices. Create alternatives to what could go wrong and try to identify obstacles in advance of their potentially arising. The fact is that, as there is no ready recipe, one of the most important points to consider when making a decision is not to leave it in the hands of others and to ensure you’re being proactive with it.

3. Set SMART Goals and Use Checklists
Setting yourself SMART goals and creating a to-do list are one of the most effective strategies for organising your routine. However, going about it the wrong way may hinder your productivity further so carry out goal setting and checklists with caution. Do not try to include too many activities on your list. Use discretion when prioritising your commitments. Stay focused and try to avoid distractions. Getting into the habit of planning can take a while but once you’re in the habit of doing so, you’ll find you’re achieving more, and it will come naturally.

Another reason checklists and goals are a great way to increase your ability to be effective at work is that with this you will begin to improve understanding of where your time is being spent and you can act accordingly to re-distribute tasks and responsibilities to others accordingly. Finally, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a list of checked-off tasks at the end of the day or week, to keep you motivated, which takes us to our final tip…

4. Avoid Procrastination, Stay Motivated
Feeling unmotivated is extremely common. Here is an article all about how to improve your motivation. Letting lack of motivation interfere with your professional development is your choice though. Even if the situation at work (or at home) is complicated, strive to recover with good results. Motivation is a strong and powerful internal impulse that leads us to action, without which we simply cannot accomplish anything. It is based on our needs and desires - that is, on what encourages us to act, and which makes us able to go after what we need and want. However, before going after anything in your life, you need to be clear about your desires, your purpose and what you really want to achieve. Only by knowing what is important to you, will it be possible to establish your goals. And in doing that, you’ll instinctively find you’re more effective at work.

So there you have it, 4 ways in which you can ensure you’re more effective in work. If you’re struggling with time management, goal setting or career development, click here to join PushFar’s mentoring platform, find a mentor and go further with your career.
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