Are we message junkies?
Check out productivity statistics anywhere and you’ll invariably find that India cuts a very sorry figure when it comes to labour productivity. Everyone seems to be working hard, working late and working weekends, but nothing much ever seems to get done. As a learned chartered accountant in the upmarket finance sector, how do you fare on the productivity charts? Do you function as a well-oiled, efficient machine or are you perennially stuck in a bog, running as fast as you can just to stay
in the same place? Regardless, here are some simple tips to help you improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace.
1. Master the tools of the trade
Think about it. As a chartered accountant, what are the tools you use most frequently? Spreadsheets and accounting software, undoubtedly. And, like most other finance professionals, you probably also use a word processor, an email client, a Web browser and presentation software. Throughout your career, these will remain the most important tools of your trade. Programs such as Microsoft Excel and Word are phenomenally powerful and contain loads of features that can save you hours and hours of grunt work if you are adept at using them effectively. Take the time to master these tools early in your career!
2. Get rid of clutter
How much time do you waste searching for that elusive slip of paper in your drawer that’s stuffed to the brim with miscellaneous junk? And is your computer a mess of icons and files that you have to scroll through endlessly before you find what you want? Fact is, most of us surround ourselves with unnecessary junk, which over a period of time accumulates to a point that we’re almost choking and drowning in clutter. Get rid of as much unimportant stuff as you can – free your space and free your mind. Increased efficiency will be an inevitable offshoot.
3. Don’t be a message junkie
In this era of push notifications for email and instant messaging, we all feel compelled to constantly check out messages as they arrive on our multiple smart devices, and also wish to reply instantly. This addiction is probably the biggest wrecker of productivity, sucking out efficiency and shattering concentration with every beep or buzz that you just can’t stop yourself from attending to. Hence, while working on anything important, shut off all messaging and chat distractions. Better still, deal with e-mail and other messages in batches, at predefined times twice or thrice a day. And of course, keep entirely away from personal chat and instant messaging during working hours.
4. Use an online organiser
Planning your work week in advance is one obvious prelude to getting things done more efficiently. Fortunately, in this age of tablets and smartphones, making such plans is a breeze. There are a host of collaboration tools and programs available on every kind of computing device. These nifty apps allow you to create to-do lists, set up alerts, schedule appointments and plan ahead in myriad ways, while enabling you to track progress and tackle backlogs appropriately. And, with storage in the cloud, all your data is available to you anywhere, synchronised across all your devices and shareable with anyone. Apart from Google Calendar, check out apps such as Evernote or Any. Do and get yourself organised today!
5. Improve inefficient procedures
Inefficiency is all around us, like a raging epidemic. Inefficient systems continue to thrive, merely because they have existed from time immemorial and no one has bothered to change them. Be observant at your workplace, and wherever you find inefficient procedures, study them and suggest improvements, but without ruffling any important feathers of course. Not only will this benefit your company, it will also earn you brownie points, recognition, and long-term career gains.
Let’s all do our bit to get India to the top of the productivity charts!