If you are a small business owner or run a fortune 500 company, your profitability is heavily tied to your efficiency. The more you can get done in the least amount of time leads to more profit.
It’s important to take stock of your work environment on a regular basis to make sure you are taking full advantage of the time you have. I have four questions that you can ask yourself to make sure you are doing all you can to optimize your work environment.
1. Where do I work best?
This is something that could constantly be in flux. Sometimes I can sit in my office and be 100% focused on what I need to accomplish. Some days I find myself needing to get away. I take my laptop or journal to my porch to get my best work done.
Keep on your toes and stay as self-aware as possible. If you need certain surroundings to meet different challenges, find the places that help you work at your highest level.
2. When do I get my best work done?
Time is an aspect in your efficiency. This probably isn’t a ground-breaking secret.
There is a terrible lie that tells people that the “early bird gets the worm” so you need to be up at 5am every morning to be successful.
Everyone is different. Some people work best starting at 5am and others at 5pm. You need to schedule your day around when you work best, but be careful. Some people use the excuse that they work best at night to be lazy all day.
3. How do I prioritize tasks?
This works hand-in-hand with the schedule mentioned above. You need to prioritize within the time you do your best work.
Studies have shown that the best practice is to put your more challenging work ahead of the busy work. As soon as you start your “work day” you should be focused on what will take the most focus. This allows you to expend the most energy up front and do all the mind-numbing, tedious stuff later.
The alternative is wasting all your energy on the frustratingly tedious work up front and having limited focus for the major tasks later on. I think you can tell for yourself what the better course of action is.
4. Does technology focus or distract me?
This is entirely personal and takes a heavy does of self-awareness. Be honest with yourself. Do you need to unplug to get your work done? Or do you focus best when you are connected?
Unfortunately, I need to disconnect as much as possible to get my best work done. At most, I like to turn on a show or movie I have seen a dozen times for some white noise. By cutting myself off from social media and such, I am alone with my thoughts. I am able to collect them and organize them without new information pouring in.
Though I can’t understand the position, you might work in an entirely opposite fashion. You may need to stay connect to be focused on your work and that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for it! I know way too many people who fight their tendencies rather than embrace them and work through them.
On top of all this…
You need to manage your time and keep a consistent schedule. Being sporadic is not one of those “tendencies” to be embraced. It is generally a sign of immaturity in whatever business you are involved in. Answer the questions above, find out what works best for you, and stick to it like glue.