Maximizing Efficiency: Doing Less to Get Way More Done
With only so many hours in the day, an efficient work schedule is key to the success of any startup. You may be looking at the new year as a fresh start and a new opportunity to accomplish way more in your work week than you ever have before, but that’s going to take a new strategy and a new commitment to keep with it each and every day.
We’ve talked before about time management and some of the tips and tricks to get every second out of the time you can put into work. An important piece of that was avoiding multi-tasking since only 2.5% of people can do it efficiently. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to take on too much, too fast until it all becomes too overwhelming to handle.
While it’s true that hustle is an important key to success, it’s equally necessary that you are putting all that energy in the right places. If you allow yourself to be spread too thin then you won’t be producing the kind of consistent quality that your clients and customers are expecting from you.
So what’s the alternative? Take a step back, evaluate the kinds of work you do in your life, and make a plan to focus only on the most important pieces.
Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot fame wrote recently on how doing fewer things, better dramatically increased the quality of his work (and his life). He made it clear that thinking in abstractions isn’t the way to go. When you get too broad about the changes you want to make in your life, it’s difficult to find actionable ways to fix the problems.
He made a list of all the quantifiable tasks of any given day and eliminated the pieces that he found inefficient or ultimately unhelpful. There may be some tough decisions to be made here. Not every task can be easily eliminated, but those are the choices you have to make if you want to be a healthy, more efficient startup.
An important part of that is being willing to say “no” to more work. It’s not an easy thing to do and it doesn’t come naturally to people in general, but if you let yourself be swamped by new promises and new commitments then you’re on the quick road to overstress and under efficiency.
When you can say “no” to something new, you can focus on the things that are most important to you and your own success. You don’t want to be too harsh about it or too soft either. Be clear about your intentions, that you simply can’t take on more for your own sake. If you lean too far towards either extreme, they may push you harder to say “yes” or be pushed too far away. Neither is the ideal result.
At the end of the day, this is all about achieving a peace of mind that is going to make you a better worker in general. Stress is the ultimate killer of consistent and successful work so if you can get it out of the way then there’s no doubt that you will be working way better than you ever have.
Work towards outcomes rather than for the simple sake of “doing something.” Discover new ways to measure yourself and to congratulate your progress along every step of the way. Nothing feels better than accomplishing goals that really matter. Not only will you be way less stressed, but you’ll have a lot more work off your plate.
Do less tasks better than you have before and you’ll be living a happier, healthier, and more successful life. That kind of strategy is going to do you the most good in every possible way.