Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Is your to-do list filling up with incomplete projects? Work efficiency is something that many people struggle with, and if you don’t attack the problem with intent, it’s easy to fall behind.

Any productive person is interested in learning how to work efficiently, and we’ve got just what you need — read on to learn more about what causes inefficiency at work and get some work efficiency tips to streamline your workflow and help you accomplish more each day!

What Causes Inefficiency at Work?

Inefficient working is a problem that plenty of people struggle with. There are bad working habits that can lead to an inefficient work day, and if left unchecked, it can put you behind by quite a bit.

There are plenty of things that can cause a decrease in work efficiency, but these are the main things that hold people up:

  • Constantly checking your email. You may think you’re keeping on top of things, but constantly checking your inbox and replying to every email immediately creates a consistent distraction throughout the day.
  • Being too accessible to others. It’s usually a good thing to be accessible to your teammates, but if too many of them begin to rely on you for too much, it can hinder your ability to be productive. Are there better boundaries you can set?
  • A cluttered workspace. The physical environment that you are working in can have a big effect on your headspace. Taking some time to clean and organize can go a long way towards getting more done.
  • Multitasking. So many people think they have the ability to multitask, but that just isn’t how we are wired to work. It may seem like an attractive option to hop between tasks, but it just isn’t an efficient way to get work done — you just can’t give your full attention to a new task until the previous task is complete.

How to be Efficient at Work

Now that you understand how inefficient work habits come to be, it’s time to correct them. Here are our tips for how to increase work efficiency!

1. Stop Multitasking, Start Monotasking

Now that we understand the downsides to multitasking, we know how important it is to focus our attention on monotasking. Monotasking is the practice of choosing to work on one thing at a time for a short, concrete period of time with the emphasis of focusing on only that particular task. Plan your day out and build in chunks of time where you’ll only be focusing on a singular task or project. This way, you eliminate the option of distracting yourself and give yourself a dedicated amount of time to work on a single project without feeling guilty about neglecting the others. Stay true to this schedule as much as you can.

2. Delegate When Possible

If you can, take advantage of the ability to delegate tasks to peers, subordinates or coworkers. Every job comes with a series of small, minute tasks that can keep you away from your main focus. When possible, assign these tasks to others so that you can keep your focus on your main job description and better perform at the job you are paid to do.

3. List Your Distractions

What is it that’s distracting you? Take some time to put together a list of the things that are distracting you the most. This list will help you realize just how much is distracting you and where these distractions are coming from. 

Is there a thought or a question that is distracting you during the workday? Rather than abandoning your task to look into it, write it down. Then, you can revisit this idea during a break or after your work is done, which will help you focus on the task at hand while still feeding your curiosity.

4. Track Your Completion Time

If you were to sit down and take on the task at hand, do you know exactly how long it would take you to complete it? People have a tendency to grossly underestimate or overestimate how long it takes them to complete a task, so sitting down and timing yourself gives you a clear picture of what to expect. This allows you to be more accurate when you create your schedule and budget your time in the future.

This is just one example of how you can use time optimization to manage your day. Learn more about time optimization in the workday by here in this blog post!

5. Take Breaks

Contrary to how it may seem, taking breaks is actually good for your workplace efficiency. Going from one task to another without taking breaks will make you bored, burnt out or exhausted from all of your responsibilities. When you take a break, you’ll be able to attack the new task with a fresh mind, which will make it easier to see the task through without feeling the need to distract yourself. If you aren’t taking breaks, you may be subject to some leftover attention residue — learn more about that here!

6. Look Into Shortcuts

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to look for shortcuts! The Internet provides us with so many different opportunities and resources to help optimize your life and make things easier for your workflow. 

A great example of this is Charli. Charli is an AI system that can help you file and sort your projects and documents quickly, which will decrease the amount of time needed for all of this maintenance work. 

7. Use the Internet’s Tools to Your Advantage

There are so many different tools that the Internet provides that can help you maintain your focus, be productive and work efficiently. Whether you’re using Google Drive tags to help you stay organized, productivity extensions for your browser or anything like that, there’s no shortage of options out there for anyone who wants to improve working efficiency.

8. Stay Firm with Your Goals

Stop us if this sounds familiar to you — on Monday, you list out some tasks you want to accomplish this week, but by Wednesday, the latest workplace crisis or sudden change of schedule has you working on something completely different? The ebbs and flows of each week can be vastly unpredictable, and if you aren’t careful, you can lose focus on what you want to accomplish.

While it’s important to be adaptable with your work, it’s just as important that you focus on the main thing and carve time out of your day to work on the pressing issues. If you don’t schedule this time for yourself and stick to it, it’s likely that others will fill that time for you. Make your schedule, make efficient use of your time and don’t be afraid to say no if you have to.

Reclaim Your Time by Improving Working Efficiency

Your time is valuable, and inefficient working can set you back more than you may realize. Thankfully, with the Internet, there are more resources than ever before that you can utilize to create an efficient and effective workflow.

As mentioned before, one of these resources is Charli. Charli is your “chief of stuff” that can help you organize, find and share your things in an easy and efficient way. If you want to introduce some AI magic into your workflow, check out how Charli AI can help!