How many times have you desired more than 24 hours in a day?
While we can’t add more hours to your days, we can help you make the most of what you already have and continuously improve, both individually and as a team.
This guide will uncover the secrets to working faster. We’ll tell you how to be fast at work, detailing tips you can apply individually and across your entire team.
Let’s get started.
The benefits of working faster (without cutting corners)
In today’s business world, time management is a critical skill. Employers value team members who can work faster, and customers? Well, they expect nothing short of quick and prompt action.
But, most importantly, working faster benefits you the most.
You’re more productive, focused and stress-free. All this contributes to improved self-esteem and a greater sense of confidence, giving you a growing sense of accomplishment. Not only does this benefit your entire well-being, but also improves your outlook on work and life.
In addition, when you know how to be fast at work, you complete obligations earlier. This leaves you with more time to enjoy your personal life, which can be spending time with your friends and family or indulging in a hobby.
An important thing to note here is that working faster isn’t just about speed — it’s also about quality.
Your objective shouldn’t be to finish work quickly by compromising the overall quality. Instead, it should be about achieving the best possible results in less time with minimal to no time or energy wastage.
6 Tips for working faster to promote individual productivity
In this section, we’ll list good work habits you can apply personally to improve personal productivity while creating a healthy work-life balance.
1. Work when you’re productive
We’re not going to ask you to rise early in the morning or go to sleep late at night. Honestly, we think that’s shitty advice.
People have different daily rhythms that work for them. Some are early birds, while others are night owls. But this doesn’t mean you need to work accordingly. There are people who found their “non-optimal timings” were the best time to do problem-solving and creative tasks.
You have to identify the hours you’re at the peak of your productivity and plan your schedule around that. Experiment with different daily work schedules until you find one that works best for you.
2. Try the “eating the frog” method
The quickest way to work is knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses, as it helps you prioritize tasks and manage time, which is what the “eating the frog” methodology is based on.
Under this productivity method, it’s recommended to put your weaknesses (tasks you’re not good at) first on your to-do list and strengths (tasks you're good at) at the end of the day. Your brain is active and up for any challenge at the start of the day. This makes it more likely for you to easily tackle the hardest thing first and then, toward the end of the day, when you may be tired, finish easier tasks.
In the end, you’re left with a checked-out to-do list.
Moreover, knowing your weaknesses and also having to realize if delegation is the better option. Getting someone else who is better suited to do the task instead of procrastinating or submitting sub-par work is more effective to save time.
3. Break up big projects into smaller, manageable chunks
Starting a big project is always a dreadful, overwhelming process.
You may not know where to start or how to manage it, leading to anxiousness and under-confidence. These negative feelings are the main reasons behind fear-based procrastination, according to Psychology Today, and effective task management is the most effective way to avoid it.
Break down your big project into manageable, smaller tasks. Create a to-do list outlining a weekly plan to accomplish these goals. For example, if you have to write a 4000-word blog post, divide the assignment into the following tasks:
- Research the topic.
- Create an outline.
- Write a blog post.
- Edit the blog post.
- Proofread again before sending it to the client.
Now, instead of thinking “I have to write a 4000-word blog post,“ you’ll approach the assignment as “I need to make an outline“ or "Today, I just need to edit."
4. Use productivity tools
What better way to work faster than using tools designed to boost productivity?
Moreover, you’ll find tools for nearly every individual task, from process documentation and email management to time tracking and appointment scheduling. For instance, Scribe automates processes, regardless of how complicated or comprehensive, in a couple of seconds.
Hit ‘Record’ and capture online workflows, and Scribe will automatically convert them into visual, step-by-step guides, complete with screenshots and labels. You can also use the ‘Pages’ feature for combining multiple scribes, images and videos to create extensive user manuals and guides.
Here’s what a Scribe looks like:
🔥 Scribe Top Tip: Similarly, you can try Toggl for timekeeping, ClickUp for managing and collaborating on team projects and Evernote for making and organizing notes.
5. Minimize distractions
If you ask experts what’s the fastest way to work, they’ll likely tell you to minimize distractions. The world we live in is a constant distraction. The constant beeps, pings, and buzzes tempt you to continue procrastinating instead of focusing on the job at hand. Take control and remove anything that may sidetrack you.
For example, if you work remotely, shut your door to avoid getting disturbed by others. If you go to the office, explain to your colleagues to only come to you when it’s absolutely necessary—and socialize only during breaks. You can share your views on Elon’s latest tweet later.
Another important aspect of minimizing distraction is an organized workspace.
Take a long, hard look at your workspace. Throw away any trash and papers you don’t need and put away documents you don’t need at hand. And for things you do need, organize them in an easily accessible manner. A clean and clutter-free workspace will save you time so you don’t waste time hunting through piles on your desk, making you less distracted throughout the day.
6. Use a timer while you work
Set a specific number of hours to perform each task, and use a timer or stopwatch to track how long it takes, trying to finish as fast as you can.
This is also super useful following the business concept of Parkinson’s Law, where “work expands to fill the time allotted for it.“ So, if you don’t set a definite time to complete a task, you’re likely to take longer to complete it. Set specific time slots for each assignment to work faster and become more productive.
6 tips for working faster to promote team productivity
This section lists workflow efficiency tips you can use to amplify your entire team and get work done faster without disturbing workplace peace and performance.
1. Invest in effective team building
The best way to work fast as a team is seamless collaboration and respect. And when people collaborate more effectively, they also respect each other.
Creating a respectful and communicative office environment requires deliberate team-building efforts. This includes making time to celebrate victories and milestones, scheduling team lunches or Friday office hours and regularly checking in.
As your team members build rapport, you’ll see your team-building efforts bearing fruit. This is because teams with mutual respect communicate clearly and are also more receptive to constructive feedback, leading to higher productivity.
2. Actively improve communication
Team communication improves team effectiveness. And since this also includes giving and receiving constructive feedback, everyone is better equipped to handle their inefficiencies and leverage strengths.
Without clear communication, team members may not understand their assigned tasks leading to frustration and wastage of work and effort. On the other hand, opening the lines of communication will boost team transparency and honesty, ensuring everyone is on the same page and minimizing misunderstandings.
Instead of wasting time trying to understand projects, plans and ideas, team members can focus on putting together collective ideas and work together to achieve better results. They can also handle disagreements better, finding solutions and compromises more positively.
Another benefit of improved communication is that you receive additional valuable input in the form of innovative ideas and solutions for removing potential road bumps and blocks to complete work faster.
3. Prioritize meeting quality over meeting quantity
Before sending out a meeting invite, ask yourself if it’s necessary.
We aren’t saying all meetings are bad, but there are meetings you and your team members can do without, especially meetings without a clear agenda or where attendees aren’t prepared to contribute to a solution.
You know, typical productivity killers.
Instead of scheduling a team update, consider sending a status report via email. You can also create a visual brainstorming board over having face-to-face brainstorming sessions — or use asynchronous communication channels to plan and share information.
If you think a meeting is indeed important, use the following tips to make them more actionable, productive, and effective:
- Create and share an agenda at least two days prior to the meeting.
- Define and share meeting conventions and norms. For example, whether attendees should turn on their video, who will head the meeting at the beginning, and so on.
- Assign a person to take meeting notes, taking care to capture action items with due dates and assignees, and share them with attendees.
- Check in with team members to ensure meetings feel valuable to them as well.
4. Stop multitasking for task batching
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t save time.
If your employees’ usual work days are filled with finishing important tasks, attending Zoom meetings and answering emails, they’ll burn out faster from having to constantly switch from one task to another. In fact, this approach actually makes employees lose up to 40 percent of their productivity!
Encourage employees to separate the time spent on admin tasks or unimportant tasks from deep, focused work. We also recommend trying out batch testing, where team members intensely focus for a few hours (research suggests four hours) straight on a single challenging task.
Once they’re finished, team members can spend the rest of their days catching up on different, less demanding tasks.
5. Review & refine your existing workflows
Workflow efficiency is all about getting more work in less effort and time. Several issues can prevent your team from completing tasks faster. This can be anything from poor team structure to lack of information to communication loopholes.
Your primary objective here is identifying and removing these issues. Implement measures and technology that makes daily workflows more efficient. To get started, divide projects into smaller tasks and establish stages. This will immediately optimize workflows and improve role clarity.
Next, invest in collaboration tools that improve team alignment.
We highly recommend a project or workflow management software that your team members can use to know which tasks need to be completed and when. Most tools also come with built-in commenting and messaging features, helping centralize project updates and communications in one location.
You can also use Scribe to create and share SOPs or work instructions related to tasks with team members, ensuring they know what to do.
6. Encourage healthy habits
Healthy habits and a self-improvement mindset are indirect contributors to working faster as a team.
Think about it: who would be an asset to your organization, employees with good health and well-being or tired and unhealthy individuals? If you don’t feel your best, how are you supposed to operate at your best?
Encourage team members to take tiny breaks to get up and stretch. Make nutritious and healthy meals available in the canteen, along with an easily accessible water cooler. As part of their employee incentives, give team members coupons to the gym or wellness centers.
Also, don’t try to overwork them. Provide a healthy work-life balance that keeps and physically and mentally happier, healthier, and more productive.
There are no perfect jobs, so you need to figure out ways to work faster that work for you and your team.
Avoiding instructions, taking care of your physical and mental health and applying productivity tips are no-brainers to achieve your desired results, but another important thing here is consistency. Productivity is a long-term game; you need to constantly monitor your and your team's workflows and be prepared that it's going to be a never-ending effort. The results are more than worth it.