To Make Yourself More Productive, Simplify
Kelly Sortino had a tough time recalling what she'd accomplished at the end of each hectic workday. Her job as head of the upper school for the Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, Calif., often required working 12-hour days, including weekends and evenings. She enjoyed the work but worried that she wasn't accomplishing everything she needed to.
每个忙碌的工作日结束，索尔蒂诺(Kelly Sortino)总是很难回想起这一天究竟成就了什么。她是加州希尔斯伯勒(Hillsborough)明泉中学(Crystal Springs Uplands School)高中部的主管。她的工作常常需要她每天工作12小时，包括周末和晚上。她很享受这份工作，但担心自己没有完成所有的任务。
'I felt like I was mostly putting out fires,' says Ms. Sortino. 'I felt as if I wasn't really having the time to do more of the strategic and visioning work to make those larger changes at the school.'
She decided to take a workshop at Stanford University on how to simplify work processes and reduce waste. She learned, for example, to block out her time more efficiently and minimize distractions. She also committed herself to systematically completing, without procrastination, her daily task list and to completely clearing her email inbox and workspace on a regular basis.
The changes produced a marked improvement in her time management. Ms. Sortino gained a better sense of her daily routine, and she's been able to start long-term projects. She still works on weekends, but only as needed.
It's a tough time to be productive. Globalization, increased competition and the jarring immediacy of technology have made it difficult for modern employees to stay on top of their growing workloads while maintaining a good work-life balance. Fortunately, experts say small adjustments to how employees think about work can have a big impact on their workplace efficiency.
Learn to prioritize and to commit yourself to working in uninterrupted blocks of time throughout the day. A 2009 Stanford University study found that multitasking is less productive that single-tasking and that many self-proclaimed multitaskers have difficulty filtering out irrelevant information, further diminishing their performance.
Schedule specific times to check email and texts as opposed to reading email as it is received. You can set email to flag important messages from senders like your boss.
Taking your time to respond can reset co-worker expectations. Many people have been conditioned to expect an immediate response to email and texts, which is unrealistic and unproductive, says Daniel Markovitz, a consultant from Corte Madera, Calif., and author of 'A Factory of One.'
从容回复信息能够重塑同事的期望值。加州科特马德拉(Corte Madera)的咨询师、《一个人的工厂》(A Factory of One)一书的作者马尔科维奇(Daniel Markovitz)说，许多人已习惯于期待在发出电子邮件和短信后立即得到回复，这是不切实际的，也是事倍功半的。
'And if you don't respond,' he says, 'you'll get additional email or a call from the co-worker three minutes later asking, 'hey, did you get my email?' You then have to deal with two or three frantic emails and a voice mail from that one person.' Dealing with dozens of people who place unreasonable demands on your time can diminish your availability to do other things.
Every workplace has a favored way to communicate, but it isn't always the most efficient. Be open to dropping tools that impede understanding between co-workers. If you can't explain yourself in a single email, consider calling, texting or meeting in person instead.
Try to understand what your co-workers do and what their motivations are, because this can be the root of many office conflicts that complicate people's lives, says Yves Morieux, a senior partner with Boston Consulting Group and author of 'Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated.'
波士顿咨询公司(Boston Consulting Group)高级合伙人伊夫•莫里厄(Yves Morieux)说，试着去了解同事们在做什么以及他们的做事动机，因为这可能是许多办公室冲突的根源，这类冲突让人们的生活变得更加复杂。莫里厄也是《六条简单法则：如何管理好复杂性，不让事情变得更复杂》(Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated)一书的作者。
It's especially important to understand what motivates the decisions your boss makes. Most subordinates have an employee-centric view of their managers, which tends not to be accurate. A better understanding of your boss can help you to sell process changes that can benefit the department and company.
Work with your boss to prioritize important work and eliminate unproductive tasks. Employees may think changing job functions is risky, but being proactive can impress your boss.
Get clarification before you start work on new projects and while you have the attention of your manager and co-workers. Many employees launch into projects without fully understanding what's expected of them because they don't want to appear critical of their boss, says Ron Ashkenas, senior partner at Schaffer Consulting in Stamford, Conn. 'Then they come back and the boss says, 'that's not what I meant for you to do.' Everybody ends up frustrated in that case.'
在你开始做新项目前要搞清楚指示，同时要得到你的上司和同事们的关注。总部设在康涅狄格州斯坦福的Schaffer Consulting的高级合伙人罗恩•阿什肯纳斯(Ron Ashkenas)说，许多员工在还没有完全弄清楚老板预期值的情况下就着手做项目，因为他们不想表现出对老板的指示有所挑剔。他说，等项目做完了，老板会说：“我的意思不是让你这样做。”结果双方都感到沮丧。
You needn't tackle tough problems alone or stew if you can't handle specific tasks. Enlist co-workers and start a discussion. Make it like a support group and break unproductive patterns that create a culture of complexity, says Mr. Ashkenas. You can cooperate with co-workers to streamline processes.