(6 mins read)

Drawing by boradoodles.pl

A few months ago, I had an incredibly tough day. Lots of calls, team meetings, decisions to be made, deadlines to be met, personal and family-related challenges… I remember that, at the end of that specific day, I sat down at my sofa and felt really good. My family was sitting next to me and we enjoyed an evening chat with some insights for the next day. At work, all tasks and projects were in a good shape and were under control, my mailbox didn’t contain one hundred unopened emails; it would be so good to finish every day like that… I started thinking about it; asking questions to understand, reflect and make some conclusions. 

According to Wikipedia, efficiency is “the ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money and time in doing something or producing a desired result. It is the ability to do things well, successfully and without waste”. So, it is about doing the right things, with the right resources and in the right amount of time – easy!

Let’s go over 7 efficiency tips which will help you to become The Efficiency Master. 


We, as humans, have a tendency to act; jumping into action and just doing it; this is what we usually do. However, if we plan, we are able to achieve more and we will achieve what needs to be achieved. By planning you will take control of your time and you will avoid having last minute jobs. All important tasks or projects will be executed on time and with proper quality. All important deadlines will be met, and you will avoid missing any important work. 

When you start planning, don’t forget about prioritizing tasks. It will help you to stay focused and you will avoid being disrupted. There are a couple of simple techniques and tools which are useful in prioritizing. My favourite one is the Eisenhower Matrix; a 2-by-2 box, where you need to allocate tasks based on a simple key: important/not important and urgent/not urgent. You need to focus on what is important and urgent; important but not urgent should be planned/scheduled for the future; not important and urgent can be delegated; and, finally, not important and not urgent can be dropped. 

You can develop a new habit as well. Every evening, sitting in peace, you could review tasks or projects for the following day. It will help you to get ready, anticipate some challenges or adjust some last-minute changes to your diary based on emergencies or current needs. Next morning, with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in your hand, you can start a day with a thoughtful plan. 


When you are at work or at home, you have to deal with multiple priorities, challenges, emergencies and ad-hoc requests. Usually, in situations like that we move to a multitasking mode. To manage your private or business agendas, you manage some activities or tasks simultaneously. It will help you to keep your head above water; however, quality of decisions or your thought process will suffer. Multitasking is good for repetitive, physical tasks. If you require to engage your brain and thought process, you need to implement ‘single-tasking’. Single-tasking will enable you to fully focus on a task; to dive into it and fully utilize your brain power. 10-15 minutes of deep focus on one single idea, or challenge, will help you to bring quality and competence into it and to find the most effective solution or action plan

Do you know what can disrupt you? Sometimes, it could a lot of music, social media, personal situations or group chats. When you want to focus deeply, ensure that nothing urgent bothers your mind and there is nothing around you which can defocus your ‘deep focus mode’. Silent your phone and put it away, switch off your social media alerts, put white noise music on and dive into a zone of deep focus. 


In many situations, when we face a problem or a challenge, we immediately start looking for solutions. There is no moment of reflection or understanding. If we jump into solution mode, there is a high possibility that we focus on symptoms of a problem. I am not suggesting to implement full root-cause analysis techniques, however, I encourage you to think; to ask questions in an attempt to understand what is happening. 10-15 minutes of connecting with people and asking the right questions to understand will help you to focus on a problem which you need to fix. It will help you to make the right decisions.


Every day, we wrestle with many problems and we face lots of decisions. Your effectiveness as a leader will be significantly increased if you focus on a problem, understand it, consider varying aspects and make a decision. You need to close it, to finish it, to make a call! Do not delay it, do not postpone it; don’t procrastinate. Invest appropriate time and efforts to be ‘first time right’. This approach will help you to take the effective decisions without compromising on quality. 


Being a perfectionist does not help to drive your efficiency. Humans have a tendency to collect all available facts, information before the decision-making time. We are risk-averse, and we want to minimize the risk of failure. Research says that, during the first phase of problem solving, we are able to collect information to find an answer to our question. And then, we are caught in a perfectionist trap. We will be spending additional days, weeks and months to collect all the information that we need to be 100%, that our decision is the right one. If you want to increase your efficiency, you need to trust your intuition, connect with your experience and subconscious mind! Why don’t you make the call if you are “70%” sure that this is the right decisions? Trust yourself!


There is also a magic wand which can impact your efficiency immediately. Technology! There are plenty of new tools or applications which you can start using immediately. I encourage you to explore cloud technology. Google, Apple and many other companies provide cloud services. If you have not used applications like Monday.com or slack.com, go to their websites and practice using free demos. These platforms are amazing in case of remote project management. I like making notes, however I do not like wasting paper; last year, I started using ReMarkable, the electronic paper, and I have to say that the experience has exceeded my expectations. You can try other electronic notepads as well.


Not a lot will change if you increase your efficiency, but your working environment will not change. The number of emails, phone calls, meetings and problems landing on your desk will be the same. The next step, after having built your efficiency muscles, should be spreading the efficiency virus around you. Implement a 30-minute face-to-face catch up with your team on a weekly basis. It will create a possibility to connect with you key stakeholders, discuss priorities, ensure that the understanding is there. This simple technique will reduce the number of emails you receive by 10-15%. You can discuss and achieve a lot within 30 minutes. Promote emails and meeting excellence around you. Be an efficiency fanatic, promote it within you team or project group. 

Now, you need to think about your own situation. What are you good at? What is you challenge? What kind of behaviours do you need to introduce?

Find your own efficiency style! What is working in case of one person may not work for – or even distract! – others. 

Good luck with your journey to become the Efficiency Master!

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