How to get more work done in less time

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I’m on a perpetual quest to work faster. The faster I complete my work, the quicker I accomplish my goals.

Why take eight hours to do your work when you can do it in five?

If you want to get your work done faster, I suggest that you create a list of questions to ask yourself each time you do a new task or project.

Here’s a starter list of questions:

  • Is this task really necessary? Is there another way to accomplish the same thing?
  • Could I delegate some or all of this to someone else?
  • Could I recycle or adapt something I’ve done before?
  • Can I leave out any steps?
  • Can I combine any steps?
  • Would it help to do the steps in a different order?
  • How could I break this up into smaller steps I could do in smaller bites of time?
  • Could I do this faster if I used a different tool?
  • Would it help to assemble all of the resources I need before I begin?
  • What could I do to increase my focus when I do this (e.g., mono-task, listen to music/white noise, work at the library or another quiet place)?
  • Would I do this faster if I promised myself a reward?
  • Would an accountability partner help?
  • Could I do this faster at a different time of day when I have more energy or fewer distractions?
  • Could I do any of this in the car or while exercising (e.g., dictating)?
  • Would it help to plan this out the night before?
  • Could I batch this with other tasks?
  • Would an updated form, checklist, or template help?
  • Would it help to give myself less time to finish (e.g., a shorter deadline)?
  • How could I transition from one step to the next with less delay?
  • Am I willing to give up some quality in return for speed? If so, what could I do to achieve that?
  • Who do I know who does this in their work and would allow me to see how they do it?

Start recording what you do–all of the steps and how long it takes to do them. Before long, you’ll see yourself getting more work done in less time.

Once you’ve mastered the habit of asking, “How can I do this faster?” start a new habit. Ask yourself, “How can I do this better?”

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