A recent study used brain scans to prove that we learn better when we write down information by hand rather than typing information into a keyboard.
It got me thinking about what other things we do, especially at work, that are supposed to help us but instead make us less efficient? Are we doing things just because they are new and trendy?
Sure, we’d all like to simplify work by not itemizing expense reports or not reading the employee handbook. But I’m not talking about avoiding work–just making it simpler. You know, the good old days.
So grab your sharpened Ticonderoga and take notes on these five ways to simplify at work.
- Have a clear plan and prioritize.
It’s so easy, but it’s so hard to do. Don’t do work that you don’t need to do. Make a plan, and stick to it. If it’s not a priority, it can wait…possibly forever. Need help getting started? Check out these tips for prioritizing at work.
- Establish boundaries, and then learn how to say no.
If you can’t say no, you’ll never be able to simplify your life. Ryan Seacrest’s resume is proof that if you don’t establish boundaries, you won’t be able to say no. And without boundaries, you can have too much, even of a good thing (Kelly Ripa? Really?)
- Delegate–that’s it.
My co-author Natalie Hastings recalled the time that she was going out on maternity leave and said that her CFO reminded her, “Take the time you need. It’s not brain surgery. Someone else can do it.” Sometimes our egos can get in the way and lead us to believe we are the only ones who can do something. Usually we aren’t.
So unless you are actually a brain surgeon, assume that many of the tasks you do others can do, too. In fact, others might want to do them.A lack of delegation can not only waste your time but it can waste opportunities for others in your organization.
- Avoid interruptions. Whether it’s a talkative coworker or a pointless email string, avoid the things that make it hard for you to accomplish your everyday tasks.
Lord knows I love a funny email, but I’m not talking about your perfect burn in reply to Steve in purchasing. I’m talking about those pointless emails that will make you wish you were in a meeting. I’m talking about work for work’s sake.
- Duplicate and replicate–don’t reinvent.
Sure, we all love accolades and enjoy being the one who came up with TCNA (“The Cool New Acronym”)- that identifies a new process or way of doing things. But sometimes we don’t need something new. The best (and simplest) way of doing things might already exist.
Whether you’re working hard on a new patent or just looking to meet your monthly sales goals, remember that keeping it simple might be the most advanced concept in the room.