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Being Efficient In Your Work

The self-satisfied wealthy motorist, finding his car out of petrol, coasted into a roadside station. After a full minute a bored-looking youth came out and leisurely walked over to the pump.

'Get a move on, boy’, urged the impatient client. ‘I want some petrol. You should have more push! You can't run a business like this without it. If I hadn't kept pushing since I was a boy, I wouldn't be where I am today.'

'That sure is fine,' commented the attendant. 'I guess you'll have to push some more. There ain't a drop of petrol in this station.'

The world has been keyed up to push, and the fellow, who likes to while away his time and energies doesn’t stand a chance.

The pusher and the idler both show a lack of healthy interest in life. The former is just a workhorse, nothing else. He goes round and round turning the mill, and forgets the other beauties of human life. The idler on the other hand is so apathetic that for him his whole lifetime is a chain of idle days and weeks and months and years.

Work is an important part of our life. It accomplishes a great need in man - the need to create. It builds healthy living standards, security, pleasure, and happiness. It is not only a way to provide for the family and give education to the children but is a means of usefulness to oneself. It is integral for one's growth and for one's moral, mental, and physical health.

History rests on work, for work is not a mere production of wealth, it is more generally the activity by which man projects around himself a human milieu and transcends what nature gives to his life.

Work is the development and humanization of man through the humanization of the world.

Watch your over-activity

Overdoing has become a current phenomenon and some people openly boast about it, how much they have to do, even though in reality they have very little to be proud of. In most cases heavy work schedule exhausts them.

Mr. Lal felt he was never doing enough during the daytime. He brought his work home with him, and worked on it until late into the night.

He had no time to take any interest in his wife and children, he had no interest outside his work.

But his over-interest and over-dedication to his work contributed nothing toward increasing his effectiveness. Quite the contrary, he set to work without much enthusiasm, he complained of a constant state of fatigue and found it almost impossible to keep his mind on what he was doing.

Over-activity saps the energies of a person out of proportion to the work accomplished. It makes , one less enthusiastic, less happy, less companionable, less efficient, less of a man. A healthy program of life makes room for enough work, but it gives room for enough leisure also. Leisure is the time when the tensions built up in the body and mind get smoothed out, and after a spell of leisure one is buoyant enough to ,start his work again with maximum efficiency.

Face the reality

Modern man, by virtue of his work, has attained a position of control over nature and at the same time he is becoming more and more an employee, a cog of a giant wheel producing more cogs and more wheels.

For hundreds of thousands of workers, work has become a soul killer which prevents every escape from dull, monotonous tasks, lacking dignity and revealing little purpose.

At the same time work becomes increasingly scientific, therefore there is a greater demand for learned, skilful and efficient workers, who are called upon to work hard and with maximum efficiency.

A vital incentive

Astounding is the progress Japan has made in a comparatively short time, and it still manages to keep ahead. The secret of their success is familiar – work.

American writer John Jessup, commenting on the Japanese love for work, writes: 'Whether on the street, the factory floor or in the executive bullpen, the Japanese is constantly exhibiting his conviction that will power and effort are superior to matter. The Japanese has a keen sense of shame and obligation, impelling him to extraordinary efforts to keep his commercial promises. Bosses, bookkeepers and factory hands can be found doing voluntary night work to meet a delivery date. Their attention is always on the task rather than on the clock ….Neither carrot nor stick explains (the motive).'

Efficiency in work may not offer hints for rapid promotion necessarily. Success in work need not be marked at all by any outward show.

As John Craig writes, 'A man who remains all his life shifting boxes in a factory has achieved real success in his work if he has done the work as well as he could and has made its conscious offering to God. We cannot all hope for that feeling of pride which the artist experiences in his masterpiece, the scientist in some great discovery, the ploughman in his straight furrows. Still whether we work in shops, offices or factories, if we do our own particular job to the best of our ability we get satisfaction out of it. Moreover, we know the purpose of work, the possibilities it offers, its redemptive power when it is done in union with Christ, the humble worker of Nazareth.'

It's your business

An employee lamented, 'They talked me into buying stock in the company I work for, and it's made a nervous wreck out of me. I keep worrying about the lousy work I'm turning out.'

Personnel problems tend to be of major concern in small as well as in big business. These seem to have their source in lack of qualified personnel.

Personnel administration either embraces or is in some way related to just about every operation that goes on in every business. It covers all of the following: employee hiring, employee training, employee supervision, maintenance and filing of all necessary records and reports, many of which are required by law or governmental regulation, planning and managing the company's compensation and benefits programs, looking for ways to improve employee performance, dealing with employee terminations.

And these problems aren't all. Wages, salaries, and employee benefits programs represent only the more obvious labor costs an employer incurs. There are also plenty of 'hidden' costs – especially in a poorly operated company. These range from inefficient job performance to such things as damage to equipment through carelessness, misuse of company supplies, and outright theft. Or consider the loses resulting from sales lost because of customer dissatisfaction caused by employee inefficiency, discourtesy, and so on.

The source of these and many other personnel problems is the little sense of responsibility that is nowadays so common. In the vast scale machinery, all natural interest in the work has been taken away. And there is an unnatural separation between work and leisure, between work and personal joy and growth, in which work becomes just a necessary evil done in order to make some money.

Success in work increases when there is a personal relation between oneself and the work, it is evident. The setup of complex businesses tends to sunder this personal relation: work becomes more and more depersonalized. Of course one cannot expect to get the same joy that an artist gets to see his own creation, because in this case the relation between the worker and the work accomplished is more intimate than in a textile factory where a person's contribution does not show out so easily. All the same, the personal element in the modern industries can certainly be increased with a more original and thoughtful organization of factories.

The worker on his part can feel more with his work if he is willing to change some of his attitudes.

Better organization means more efficiency

Give two men the same amount of money, the same opportunities and tell them to start on the same business. After some time one man will be more successful than the other.

What makes the difference? Organization.

It is not enough to have money and opportunities. One must also have the shrewdness to make use of what he has in such a way that he gets the maximum benefit out of it.

To achieve work efficiency also we need organization. To do things in the easiest, quickest and best way we have to organize what we have – especially time - doing away with whatever is irrelevant to our purpose. All of us get only 24 hours in a day, but the way we use them spells the difference between success and failure.

By scheduling our activities we avoid disappointments and make great strides in the matter of efficiency and relaxation. Without order and organization there are frenzy and hurry which lead to blunders, which in turn lead to tension and frustration.

If you want to be efficient, to have more working hours and to enjoy more leisure time, set aside a 'self-organization day,' or better, a few minutes a day to organize your daily work.

Much time is lost in finding out things because one does not like to spend a little time in keeping things in order.

Much time is lost in deciding what to do because one does not like to do anything.

Much time is lost when you discover at the last minute one important file missing in the briefcase and while searching for it miss the train.

We do not know the limits of our efficiency unless we try. A better organization of your work may increase your efficiency even hundred percent. You will be convinced of this if you give a thought to how notoriously inefficient government offices are for lack of proper organization.

Here are some suggestions on how you can better organize your work:

Whatever you need for your work keep near you so that you don't have to waste time running up and down for things, but sufficiently far so that you don't feel smothered.

Keep a tidy table. Tidy surroundings enhance efficiency.

When you take things out of somewhere remember to put them back in the same place when you have done with them, as soon as you can.

Tidiness is good, but an over-concern with it shows disinclination to get down to brass tacks.

Your work should be correlated with others' work. There should be no time lost by wasteful waiting.

When you have to decide take enough time, but not too long.

Hurry does not mean efficiency. Useless hurry causes only fumbling and fatigue, and reduces the quality of work.

Some jobs need more attention on quality, some on quantity. Decide which is needed more in your work, and act accordingly. Over-concern with the mass produced or perfectionism kills efficiency.

Strive for excellence. A typist who manages only 40 words per minute(w.p.m.) will double his efficiency if he works to make 80 w.p.m.. The same is true in many mechanical and non-mechanical jobs.

Take things in order and get them done. More important or more urgent things first, whether they are easy or difficult.

Do not forget the safety factor. Working with brainless giants one cannot expect not to have some accidents at least. But many of these accidents are avoidable, and if they occur, it is simply due to utter negligence. Besides, the danger element in work reduces efficiency because of the cautionary anxiety it produces. One who has taken all reasonable precautions feels more secure than the careless fellow, and can work with a lighter spirit.

Boost up your self-image

Napoleon enjoyed the ‘image’ of being an unconquerable general. A few battles well conducted and the many stories regarding his military skills soon defined an image that Napoleon would never lose.

Mahatma Gandhi, J. Nehru, John F. Kennedy had done more for their countries than any other because of their popularity all round the world. This contributed tremendously to their success and helped them give the best of responsibility to their work.

Ram has a feeling that he might be fired any day. Though he is a responsible worker and his employer has never offered any serious criticism of his work, he seems to fear the possibility of rejection.

Hostile emotions toward the employer in particular and toward society in general, which might have had their origin in half-buried memories of his authoritarian father and mother, may be the cause of a poor performance and this might give him a picture of himself as physically weak, mentally below average and as a person destined to experience failure.

Honesty to yourself, a sense of service to your employer, a good reputation won in your circle will go a long way to boost up your image and help you to get the right things done at the right time and in the right place.

Efficiency is achieved when you long to be more, to do more and to love more.

Efficiency in leadership

Working people deeply resent egotistical, self-centered, overbearing bosses. They want understanding and consideration.

Workers behave with dignity. They cannot be driven, they cannot be made to work; however they can be led.

If you are a boss or a manager don't reduce your workers to the level of numbers but learn to listen to them. They will tell you what they want and achieve what you want.

Here are listed some pointers which may be guidelines in efficiency in your work as director, manager or boss.

1. Don't leave your office without telling where you are going or when you expect to return.

2. Allow sufficient time to get work done.

3. Give explanation, clear and to the point, when assigning new work.

4. Don't show partiality among those who work for you.

5. Use courtesy toward all and show interest in the employees' personal life but not meddlesome curiosity.

6. Don't hold employees back from promotion because of their value to you.

7. Respect the employees' wishes by keeping confidential information.

8. Use tact in telling employees of their mistakes.

9. Appreciate their work and really make your employees feel that they are making a contribution and are of value.

10. Admit a mistake when you make one.

11. Show interest in their work, but not such an interest as makes them wish you were miles away. Respect their intelligence.

12. Make it a shared effort, if possible. Decisions taken after a dialogue session are more welcome, if you can make the majority see the objective reasonableness of your decisions.

13. Do not rub in the hierarchical system whenever you see an opportunity. Your obsession with it is resented, and it shows your fight against your inferiority complex.

14. Bring down discriminations. Even a sweeper will work better if he feels his dignity is enhanced.

You are a success as a boss if those under you would vote gladly to have you as their boss for another term, giving good marks for your business efficiency and personal relations with them.

Efficiency in collaboration

I don't know what the worker bees think about their situation. Whatever they think their attitude makes a difference in their dignity. If they grouse about their bad luck in having to slave for a fatty queen for a bunch of worthless drones, then they become slaves. If they are happy to be sharers in a common enterprise, to be able to provide for their big family, then certainly their dignity is enhanced. I guess they work with this latter attitude otherwise they wouldn't merrily hum while working.

In human life also, it is the attitude that makes the difference. The man who thinks he is slaving for others becomes a slave. The man who considers himself a collaborator in a common enterprise becomes by that very fact a collaborator.

This attitude shows in his efficiency also. Certainly the man who is happy in his work works better than the one who takes it as a necessary evil.

Getting along with the boss can be difficult task but this difficulty can be lessened and mutual understanding made easier if the subordinate gives the boss his due. Following are some hints on how this can be done.

1. Respect his authority. Be friendly with him, but also remember that the final word is his.

2. Show responsibility in work, in handling things. If you take your work to heart the boss will take your interest to heart.

3. Keep up-to-date in your work, by studying the new developments if you can.

4. Courtesy is a useful aid in any interpersonal relation.

5. Be fair.

6. Acquire and keep up your reputation for being efficient and reliable.

7. Admit a mistake when you have made one.

8. Allow for the fact that the boss is also human. Cultivate a sense of humor; you may need it.

9. Try to lease him, but don't make an obsession of it. Pushers are disliked by their colleagues.

10. Be business-like. Do not carry your business matters outside if it hurts business, and do not load the boss with your domestic and personal woes.

11. Avoid the know-it-all attitude. Accept corrections if they are objective.

12. Be punctual and prompt.

13. Keep an eye on personal and work-place tidiness.

Society | Self-Help


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