Today’s era of digital workspace has created a lot of noise. Endless meetings, countless hours of managing tasks, the accumulation of information, deadlines, priorities and projects create a blurred line between what you should do now and what you should do next. But effective leaders know that these distractions shouldn’t deter them from hitting their daily goals in the workplace.
You may have heard efficiency is key a dozen times or more, but it’s a cliche for a reason. Why? Because that’s truly what every CEO needs in leading an organization. Whether you’re running a small business or managing a large corporation, finding ways to improve workplace efficiency can be the difference between success and failure.
Now, the question becomes: Where do you start? It’s simple: the power of 6.
1. Know who and what to focus on
Knowing who and what to focus on is an art form. In a time when there’s too much noise, filtering which sound actually matters is a skill set that every leader should hone.
In a nutshell, knowing which people and projects you should invest time, effort, resources and concentration in is key to promoting an efficient workplace.
One of the biggest gambles is becoming a yes-man. It is always crucial to say “no” to opportunities that do not align with your goals or values, including projects and clients that do not serve you the way you serve them.
Here’s a pro tip: One hack is to create a checklist of the key criteria that a project or a client should meet before you take them on board. Focus on force multipliers, like projects or partnerships that can help you hit greater goals without burning yourself out.
2. Optimize your noise-filtering process
Filtering out noise is easier said than done. But how do you do it exactly?
First, you set priorities. When drowning in an avalanche of tasks, the only way out is to prioritize each project according to importance and urgency. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a set of tabs that seem endless. Optimize your task management process, and take each actionable item one step at a time.
Next, you improve your workplace communication structure. A huge chunk of workplace noise typically comes from communication platforms like Slack or Gmail. From casual conversations to urgent emails, filtering this hurricane of data can be counterproductive. During your downtime, try to spend 5 to 10 minutes cleaning up your inboxes or sifting through Slack conversations to see which ones concern you.
Here’s a pro tip: When in doubt, use an app. I typically find myself in the middle of jumping from one task to another without the luxury of time to manually filter noise. What I find useful is theGist, an AI Slackbot that does all the thread summaries for me. At the end of the day, I immediately know the company’s communication rundown without me clicking on one thread after another.
3. Set up a working routine
Setting up a working routine is like lifting weights. It may initially look and feel intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, your own muscles will eventually adapt to the groove. Simply put, no task will feel too heavy or too challenging once you structure a routine that feels second nature to you.
Everyone is capable of adaptation. First, establish a pace that works for you, and keep it up until you equally develop rhythm and efficiency. It’s all about mastering a specific tone that will make you work like a machine.
Here’s a pro tip: Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t immediately get up to speed. Keep in mind that there’s a learning curve that everyone should learn. It’s not always about how fast you start; it’s about building momentum.
4. Build the right team for you
Surrounding yourself with the right people is a critical part of establishing an efficient workplace. Keep in mind that you become a better leader because of your people. If your team members are efficient, your business becomes efficient, and hiring the right people for the right job is winning half of your battle.
A leader working in an efficient working environment doesn’t need to constantly check on things, micro-manage tasks, follow up on deadlines or continuously remind employees why they do what they do. If the chemistry between you and your subordinates is right, everything just clicks and falls into place. Once every component of your organization is manned by the right person, you’ll find yourself being in the middle of a well-oiled machine that does its own heavy lifting with very little supervision.
Here’s a pro tip: When hiring people, find the right balance between qualifications and compatibility. It’s not just about finding a person who’s smart and experienced; it’s about finding the perfect piece that complements your company’s jigsaw puzzle.
5. Keep your meetings short and sweet
The catchphrase, “That could’ve been an email!” is not just a pop culture meme — it’s reality. Some leaders confuse longer meetings as being synonymous with productivity, but effective leaders know that if an agenda doesn’t move the needle, then there shouldn’t be a meeting in the first place.
For brief updates, utilize your communication tools rather than making everyone drop their tasks to listen to you speak. Make sure to keep your communication and productivity tech stack in shape by investing in tools that work for you.
Here’s a pro tip: To keep my messaging short and sweet, I use Spike to send chat-like emails in a lightning blitz, without the stiff formalities of traditional email. It saves everybody time and effort without compromising important business updates.
6. Embrace new technologies
Here’s the thing about human nature: People freak out when a technological breakthrough comes. Why? Because it breaks through a norm that everyone got too comfortable with.
ChatGPT is a perfect example. It’s no secret that publications and editors are skeptical about this large language model as it threatens the legitimacy of content creation. But the biggest gamble is dismissing this tool without fully realizing its monstrous advantage. Organizations that embrace new technologies instantly get ahead of the curve, while the ones who cling to outdated practices are left behind.
Here’s a pro tip: When it comes to technology, the biggest mistake one can commit is resting on one’s laurels. Explore modern tools and advancements, learn how they can help optimize your business, and leverage their capabilities to streamline your workplace.