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How to Work Efficiently (And Be Successful)

According to Psychology Today, “Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators.” If this is true, then likely 20 percent of all workers aren’t giving their jobs 100 percent. If you want to stand out as a student or a professionally, then you need the skills necessary to multitask and get work done (multi-tab Internet browsing excluded). Whether you’re diligently studying or you’re climbing the corporate ladder, these three tips for working efficiently and avoiding burnout will help you become successful.

1. Prioritize

Before you even start working, you must prioritize. This will help your brain focus from one assignment to the next, since it won’t be busy worrying about all the other tasks it has to get to. Planning promotes an efficient workflow.

Forbes recommends prioritizing by batching similar tasks: “The brain also learns and executes complex tasks by lumping together similar items. Tate suggests leveraging this ability by scheduling similar tasks back-to-back. For example, you may make all of your phone calls one after another, or draft and send emails at one time.” If you’re an online student, this may mean tackling all your reading tasks before cooking dinner, and working on the related essay questions after.

2. Set Milestones

In prioritizing, set milestones for your workload and try your best to match them with a date or timestamp. Milestones can be set daily or even weekly. Creating benchmarks for your own performance will help you stay on track. Furthermore, if you haven’t reached a milestone by the designated completion time, it will signal the need to prioritize again.

Goal setting is an important skill that employers look for on a larger scale. Companies want employees who are committed to learning and career advancement. Employers will expect you to be proactive about your professional development. Setting milestones for your workload is a good way to practice setting goals for your career.

3. Communicate

In the prioritization process, it should become clear what tasks require additional information before they can be completed. Communicating about these tasks and your workload is the key to high performance. Communication is a necessary part of learning and collaboration. Successful people aren’t afraid to ask questions or admit failure.

To work efficiently, you must communicate early and often. Your professor or your boss won’t appreciate your so-called communication skills if you declare that you don’t understand an assignment the day before the project is due. Prioritizing and reviewing your work often ensures you can communicate confusion right away to get the answers you need to start working.

If you want to be successful in your online degree program or professional career, you must develop soft skills right away. Communication and critical thinking are just some of the trappings you should keep in your mental toolbox. These skills will keep you sharp when it’s time to drill down to the real task at hand. What’s your secret to working efficiently? Has it brought you success?