How To Work Faster (With Tips and Why It's Important)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Time management is a useful skill to have in your personal and professional life. Being able to complete tasks on time and efficiently often means having more opportunities to relax. If you can manage your time well by working faster, employers may also see you as more of an asset. In this article, we discuss why it's important to increase your productivity and explore several tips on how to work faster.

Why is it important to work faster?

Many employers value employees who can get work done fast while still maintaining a high standard of work. It shows employers you can produce the best results possible in less time, wasting less energy in the long run. This allows you to complete more tasks and easily adhere to strict deadlines.

Another benefit of working faster is that it can help improve your work life balance. If you finish all your obligations earlier, you have more time for your personal life, as you won't need to work overtime to complete your work. This gives you more time for spending time with friends and family, pursuing hobbies you enjoy, or just relaxing after work. Having a good work life balance can make you a better employee, as it provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to keep working hard.

Related: A Helpful Guide to Having a Great Work Life Balance

How to work faster

To help you work quicker and more efficiently, consider the following 10 tips:

1. Use a timer while you work

One way to be faster at work is to set a pre-determined amount of time to perform each task. If you know you only have a certain amount of time to finish the task, you may feel like working faster to meet that deadline.

For the first week or so, you may need to use a timer to determine how long you spend on each task. Then, aim to lower that time by setting a shorter deadline. For example, if you time yourself responding to emails and it normally takes you an hour, set a new goal of responding to all your emails in 45 minutes.

2. Make a plan

Another great way to get work done faster is to plan your day out in advance so that you don't waste time thinking about what to work on next. Here are three steps to help you plan your workday:

  • Write a list of everything you need to accomplish during the day. This helps you remember all your tasks to ensure you have time to complete them all. If you notice you have too many tasks, try to move them to another day so that they don't overwhelm you.

  • Narrow down your list to the biggest tasks. Once you know all the tasks you need to complete, create a to-do list with only the biggest tasks. This ensures you don't overload your list with micro-tasks you can finish quickly. Also, crossing off tasks as you complete them motivates you to keep working.

  • Plan for the long term. While you can make a new plan every day, it's important to consider future deadlines and goals as well. For example, if you have any upcoming vacation days, you may need to work ahead to compensate for your time off from work.

Related: How To Write an Action Plan To Help You Achieve Your Goals

3. Organize your workspace

If your workspace is cluttered, you won't be able to focus and get your work done fast. Try to create a calming work area to increase your efficiency and limit distractions. There are a number of ways to do this, including the following:

  • Go through your papers or files and shred anything you don't need

  • File any documents you're not actively using

  • Remove any clutter from your line of sight by putting it in a drawer or another space

  • Arrange the work materials you need on your desk in a neat, easily accessible way

  • Avoid piles as you can lose documents or files within them

Spend two to three minutes at the end of each workday organizing your space. This allows you to start the following day with a clean desk so that you can focus better and get right to work.

Related: Developing Proficient Organizational Skills

4. Minimize distractions

Distractions can deter you from your responsibilities, causing you to work slower or finish fewer tasks. To prevent this from happening, it's best to minimize the number of things that might divert your attention. If you work from home, turn off the television or radio unless music helps you concentrate. Also, let the people you live with know you're working and close your door so that they don't disturb you.

If you work in an office, limit socializing to your breaks and explain to colleagues that you need to focus. Consider turning off your cell phone or putting it on silent so that you won't be tempted to check it while working.

5. Prioritize your tasks

A large part of time management is knowing which tasks to prioritize. This allows you to organize your schedule more effectively and complete the most important tasks first. Assess your workload to determine which tasks are a high priority. You can make that decision by thinking about which ones will take the longest or have the earliest deadline. Starting your day with your most difficult or important tasks can also help you feel more accomplished and motivate you to keep working.

Related: How To Prioritize Work Tasks

6. Divide your time into smaller parts

A great way to be faster at work is to divide your work life into smaller, more manageable parts. Here are two ways you can do that:

  • Divide your work: To ensure work is more manageable and less overwhelming, divide it into smaller parts. For example, if you have a big project, break it into small tasks you can easily accomplish, allowing you to work towards your bigger goal.

  • Divide your day: You can also divide your day into time increments and assign specific tasks during those times. For example, consider setting aside one hour for answering emails and two hours for meetings.

7. Group similar tasks

Constantly switching between different tasks can make it harder to focus. You have to keep changing the way you're thinking and working to accommodate each task. To avoid this, group similar tasks together and complete them at the same time. For example, you can schedule all your phone calls for the same time each day or complete all your research on certain days of the week.

8. Put an end to procrastination

Procrastination is when you delay completing your tasks until the last minute. This can negatively affect your productivity and cause you to make more mistakes, as you may have to rush to complete your work.

Instead of procrastinating, use positive reinforcement to work faster and reduce the stress of rushing to finish tasks. For example, motivate yourself to complete a project by rewarding yourself with a coffee, snack, or even a break afterwards. Having something to look forward to when you're done encourages you to keep working.

9. Take time to disconnect from work

This may seem counter-productive, but one way to work faster is to disconnect from work. If you're always working and ignoring your personal life, you may become stressed and unmotivated, limiting your productivity. To prevent this from happening, schedule breaks during your day and week to focus on yourself. During this time, do something you enjoy, such as yoga, taking a walk, socializing, or cooking. This helps you clear your mind and puts you in a better mood, helping you stay focused and work faster.

You can also try to disconnect from work-related thoughts during the weekends or your time off. It can be hard at first, but meditating may help you clear your mind at the end of each week. Turning off work notifications by creating a separate email or only using your personal phone are other great ways to disconnect on the weekend. Doing this allows you to return to work refreshed and ready each week.

10. Finish less important tasks within 10 minutes

Consider limiting the time you spend on less important tasks. They may distract you from bigger tasks or prevent you from delivering results. Set a timer for 10 minutes when working on these tasks to finish them quickly and move on to working towards more important goals. Completing tasks in such a short amount of time can also help you feel more accomplished and productive, encouraging you to keep working hard.

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