Healthy at work - Sascha Brandenburg

More structure in your working life: tips for working efficiently

Too much work, too little time – a problem that’s certainly familiar to many. One solution for escaping long-term stress is working more efficiently. Using these simple tips, you can achieve that.

Working efficiently is no magic trick. You can lay the foundations through a few simple steps that everyone can take. The first, simplest and yet most commonly neglected rule: work on a clean desk that’s free of old, unimportant documents and any distractions. Best of all, you remove everything you don’t need urgently for your work. If you follow this advice and implement it conscientiously, as a rule you’ll find that scarcely anything is left over and that’s a good thing. Because, at the same time, you’ll also find that your ability to concentrate and your productivity have already increased noticeably, just as a result of this small measure.

Set priorities

Another prerequisite for working efficiently is setting sensible priorities. There are many methods for organising work more efficiently. One that has become well known is the Eisenhower principle – above all, because it has proven itself. This priority-setting model is as simple as it is effective: using 4 trays (physical or virtual) it helps you to discriminate between “important” and “urgent” tasks. Later to become President of the USA, he used this working principle during his time serving as a General in the Second World War to sort tasks quickly by priority and thereby determine who could take these tasks over.

The 4 categories for working efficiently are:

  1. Important and urgent
  2. Important but not urgent
  3. Urgent but not important
  4. Not urgent and not important

Tasks in category 1 have the highest priority and you should fulfil them before tasks in category 2. If possible, you should delegate tasks in the 3rd category and continue do so consistently in future. The tray for the last category is the waste paper basket…

Time in focus

„Work expands precisely to fill the time available for its completion.“ The well-known Parkinson’s law, formulated by British sociologist C. Northcote Parkinson in the 1950s, is no less applicable today. Working efficiently also means using time efficiently so, wherever possible, set yourself realistic but tight time-windows to deal with particular tasks. This small psychological trick really works – try it out.

By all means tell us about your experience, problems and successes around working efficiently. We look forward to your comments.

Photo credits: (c) iStock.com/designer491


The articles in the Instahelp online magazine build on personal stories and experience. We want to give our writers the freedom to express their own thoughts. This means that the articles are an expression of the authors’ own opinions and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of Instahelp.


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