Maximizing Efficiency: Need For Simplicity

Efficiency without Multitasking

We live in a world where everyone puts more hours in at the office. This is compounded by the stress that we all feel when trying to accomplish more. Often times, we look towards technology to simplify our lives. Yet this same tool has a strong tendency to sap our attention and steal our time. I ask you this: Has maximizing efficiency ever been more needed than today?

Thankfully, we can all learn to become more efficient at work. Both as an individual worker and a company of workers. Management consultants, business professors, and efficiency experts tirelessly debate the merits of business-wide efficiency. Maximizing efficiency means lowering the cost of input for the produced output. Simply put, maximizing efficiency comes from the least amount of work with the greatest production possible.

Maximizing Efficiency: Killed By Multitasking

One great area to maximize efficiency is in your workforce. Increase individual productivity by increasing the amount of work produced in a given time. You can quickly create a more efficient production by encouraging your workforce to stop multitasking!

Recent studies show that it takes 25% – 40% longer to finish a job when you are simultaneously working on additional projects. No brainer, right? However, think about how often you are distracted every 10 minutes at work. An email here, text message there, or even a phone call from a customer and you are behind on your schedule. I encourage you to keep this statistic in mind and work on just one task at a time.

Efficiency Experts from The Energy project use psychological data on the fundamental human need for rest. One of their secrets is known as the ultradian rhythm which causes ones energy levels to rise and dip on a 90 minute cycle.  Annie Perrin, VP of facilitation and programs, says “At that 90-minute mark, you have to think about some sort of renewal, to put fuel back in your tank before you start the next cycle.” Below is a list of a couple things I have found that help energize me during these times:

  • Eat a healthy snack
  • Enjoy a short walk (outside if possible)
  • Listen to a couple songs
  • Meditate

Efficient workers contribute to a much more efficient workplace. This principle holds true even when small companies are fine-tuned. You would be surprised at how quickly a minute or so saved on a single task can add up in the long run. Assuming the minimum loss in productivity, a 25% loss of efficiency due to multi-tasking adds up to 2 hours of lossed efficiency in a standard work day (60 minutes/hour * 8 hours = 480 minutes * 25% = 120 minutes). This ads up to 10 hours per week and 520 hours of lost efficiency per employee per year!! Maximizing efficiency in your work environment is achieved by taking breaks at the right time and discouraging multitasking.

Do you ever wonder how much efficiency may be lost in your organization? Perhaps it is time to rethink employee management. Perhaps it is time to introduce some new time saving breaks into your workforce efficiency.