It’s quite a widespread situation when at the end of a working day you linger at the office just because your colleagues haven’t left yet. You stay at work, doing nothing so nobody would think you’re a slacker.

It’s sad to admit but efficiency is seldom rewarded at work. Most of the firms bill by the hour so it may work against really productive people. There is an advantage of billing by the hour from the law firm’s perspective. If the work needs more time, it shifts all the risks from the company to clients. Such practice encourages lawyers to over-staff and over-search cases. But those people who work efficiently are risking to be underpaid.

Managers are used to think that working on the days off leaves a great impression. But let’s face the truth. It’s a remnant of industrial age with standardized nature of work on an assembly line. Workers from different spheres need different measurement systems. It would be better to evaluate the contribution of knowledge workers by what they create using their ideas and skills.

Companies only make their employees lose interest in being efficient, if they use that old industrial-age approach. So it’s not surprising that so many people procrastinate at work.

But there’s a solution to the problem. Forget about billing by the hour, evaluate the results of your work. Don’t count hours, concentrate on accomplishments.

Here are several tips which will enhance your efficiency at work:

  • Limit meetings. As they can be an enormous waste of time. Brief ones are usually more productive than the long ones. People spare a lot of time on introductory part of their speeches and those listening to it stop paying attention.
    Try to turn down meetings in a polite way, if you think they will last long and have no result. If you can’t avoid them, make it clear that you have only 60 minutes to spend as you have other important issues to solve.
    Remember that most of the controversial points you can discuss via e-mails or phone calls.
    Make sure that the meetings you attend are productive. They should have clear plan so it will be organized and moving fast. It’s a great idea to have a “devil’s advocate” at every meeting. His/her task is to make sure that all the negatives are discussed. Everyone should agree on the conclusion you’ve come to and each member has a task and deadline at the end of the meeting.
  • Reduce reading. There’s no need to read the whole text you get while working. Even if it has come from your boss. In most of the cases, only a small piece of articles or texts is really essential for your work. In some texts you should concentrate on the idea, not the details. In others, only a couple of examples are necessary for you. Always search for the most important part in the text and skip all the irrelevant paragraphs.
    You should make it a habit to avoid rereading your e-mails. There’s an OHIO principle: Only handle it once. While reading an e-mail make a decision whether you reply to it (and do so right away).
  • Write faster. There’s no need to make each and every sentence perfect before writing next one. The thing you should do is to separate the steps of writing. Compose the idea of what will you talk about. Write a draft (it’ll be rough and imperfect). Then you need some time to think of it, revise it and paraphrase. In other words, don’t waste your time on creating a perfect text when a good text will perfectly do.

If you follow these tips, you’ll spend significantly less time at work. Though, it may make some bosses feel nervous. But may be it’s time to change relationships with your boss?

Make him/her see you can do all the work in less time. Show your boss you achieve quality results on high-priority projects. There’s nothing new to it: do your best, report controversial issues fast and suggest solutions to them.

Focus on the results, not the hours you spent at work. Thus, you’ll have more time for your personal life.

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