20 Ways To Work Faster Than Ever

Hands with red nail polish type on a laptop with a set of eyeglasses next to the computer

If you often think to yourself, “I wish I had more time in the day,” then you might benefit from picking up the pace with your work.

You don’t have to risk quality to work faster than ever. You just have to know where to prioritize your energy and optimize the time that you do have.

Maybe you’re working toward a goal with a limited timeline, or maybe you have tasks piling up throughout the day while you find yourself unmotivated and overstimulated. Whatever your reason for wanting to work faster, there are so many ways you can accomplish it. 

The first step before picking out the tips that will help you most is to find your “why.” Making changes to your day otherwise might end up having the opposite effect. After all, you want to get the most bang for your buck, and if your actions don’t match your motivation, then they might not be helpful. 

Perhaps you want to work faster so that you can spend more time with friends and family. That might mean you need to pick up some prioritization strategies to help you focus on the biggest tasks. Or maybe you want to pack more tasks into a day. Tips that help you reclaim your focus is a good place to start.

Little changes can really add up, so don’t be afraid to start small. Even a mindset shift can boost your motivation and keep you zipping through your work. These tips will increase speed and help spur motivation.

  1. Start your day with a win: If you want to give yourself some momentum, start with a task you’re sure to succeed at. Then, you’ll have the confidence to keep rolling through the day.
  2. Move your phone: Scrolling is one of the biggest time sucks. Put your phone on silent and leave it in another room. Physically removing the distraction will help you focus.
  3. Prioritize: When you make a to-do list, mark it with a level of importance from 1 to 3. This will help you make better decisions throughout the day so you can make the most of your time.
  4. Task-batch: For some tasks, it just makes sense to them all together. For example, your emails. You lose too much time throughout the day responding to them as they hit your inbox. Instead, dedicate a chunk of time to responding to all emails for the day. This will help you avoid losing time transitioning from task to task. 
  5. Optimize your space: It’s hard to focus when you’ve surrounded by clutter. Before you begin working, take 5 minutes to clean your desk of any potential distractions.
  6. Schedule a treat: An afternoon coffee, piece of candy or a few minutes scrolling can be just the motivator you need to pick up the pace.
  7. Analyze your timing: If you’re not a morning person, that’s okay! Don’t try to force it by putting your hardest tasks up front. Instead, save them for later in the day when you have more energy. Likewise, if you start the day off strong, plan to start with some heavy lifting.
  8. Preview your day: A few minutes spent examining your calendar and deadlines will help prevent any surprises and keep you rolling from task to task.
  9. Eat the frog: If you’re dreading a task, do it first thing in the morning.Mark Twain famously described this strategy by saying, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
  10. Practice saying no: You don’t have to take on every task just because somebody asks. Those little tasks that aren’t within your role can really bog you down and prevent you from getting to your real work. 
  11. Take breaks: A quick walk or stretch can help you refocus so you’re energized for whatever is next. 
  12. Identify the 20%: The Pareto Principle says that in most pursuits 20% of the effort will drive 80% of the result. This method is great for identifying where you need to do the heavy lifting (and where you can pull back), plus it can help you escape the grips of perfectionism
  13. Mono-task: The human brain is notoriously bad at multitasking. Instead of doing multiple things at once you’re actually repeatedly switching between tasks. Try one task at a time and see how much faster you can go. 
  14. Delegate what you can: It’s easy to lose track of the day doing tasks that could (or should) be somebody else’s responsibility. Dedicate some thought to what you can delegate to others on your team instead of trying to handle it all. 
  15. Make SMART goals: If you want to make fast work of your goals, make sure they are (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)ttainable, (R)elevant, and (T)ime-based. This strategy helps create a blueprint that’ll actually work. 
  16. Work with a friend: Even if it’s just a work session over Zoom, the presence of another person will help you stay on pace. 
  17. Audit your day: It’s a good idea to occasionally look at what’s working and what isn’t so you can make the necessary changes. Note your day’s bottlenecks as well as what made you work faster. It’s important to look at both so you don’t stop using a strategy that’s actually working. 
  18. Use a timer: You may be wasting time even realizing it. Start out by dedicating just 15 minutes to a task and see how much you’re able to get done.
  19. Find an accountability partner: Having some encouragement can help. Tell somebody about how much you want to get done throughout the day. Even just talking it through to another person will help keep you moving.
  20. Set an intention: Pick a theme for your day and work toward that. Maybe it’s tying up loose ends or getting some deep-thinking work done. Either way, that intention will help you shape your time so that working faster works for you.

Written by Kara Mason.

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