How to Improve Work Efficiency? Focus on the Goal and the Work Required to Achieve It.

How to improve work efficiency? Focus on the assignment (the goal,) not the clock (or the work week.)

The only time to have an eye on the clock is to meet a predetermined deadline or company policy. Otherwise watching the clock is ineffective. Focus your attention on the assignment at hand, not the number of hours you put in.


When we get our eyes off the desired outcomes, we tend to lose momentum. When we remain focused, the task tends to go more smoothly and get accomplished in good time.

If you want to accomplish big goals you need to focus. Be very clear what it is you need to do and keep moving forward on the project. If you want to get it finished and get home, watching the clock or calendar will only slow you down. Focus on the assignment and watch it progress faster.

"We choose to play not to lose because we believe our emotional survival is at stake. We choose to play to win in order to learn, grow and thrive. Although it is not often that black and white, the critical moments of our lives and careers often come down to a choice between the two: Am I going to play to win or am I going to play not to lose?"

Larry and Hersch Wilson, Play to Win

Five Days of Coaching on How to Improve Work Efficiency


When the goal is the clock, the desired outcome is obscured and is reached more slowly. When the goal is the goal, the clock moves into the background and faster time with higher quality results can be made. Think seriously about this today.

The Coach asks:

  • Think about the statement above. Keep in mind I'm not talking about not delivering on set deadlines. Where is your mindset? Do you tend to serve the clock or a set goal?
  • How much time do you think you could actually save if your entire focus were on the work at hand to achieve the number one goal on your list? 
  • How important is efficiency and effectiveness to you? What drives you to be efficient and effective? How often are you distracted by watching the clock? 
  • What is your strategy for working efficiently to reach a set deadline? How is that strategy working for you? What improvements do you think might help? 


Try taking off your watch today. Cover the clock and any time display on the computer. Now do your work. Focus fully on achieving your priority. See what you notice at the end of the day. You will have achieved more high quality work in less time.

The Coach asks:

  • This is a learning experience. Do not make any reference to time until the very end of the day, meetings excepted. What did you notice about your work? Focus? Energy levels? Output and achievement? What does this tell you? 
  • There are plenty of other distractions. But give some extended thought to "watching the time," as a single distraction you might need to address. 
  • Being very practical, how could you change your work relationship with time in a way that would serve you better? In your quest for how to improve work efficiency what is doable? You're the leader after all. 


Change your relationship with time today. Switch from time management to priority and energy management. Watch your energy level, not the clock.  Work on the priorities when your energy is at its peak. This will be a big switch, but it can be done. Resolve to do it.

The Coach asks:

  • What do priority and energy management mean to you? How are they distinct from time managment? 
  • Again, think of the practicality of this. As a leader, what shifts could you make to better manage priorities and personal energy, versus being so concerned about time management?  
  • When is your energy at its peak? How can you take advantage of this to get important work done? 
  • What would a week look like, operating on priority and energy management?


Unless there is good reason to remain clock-centered, start your key leaders down the path of priority and energy management versus "punching in and out" according to a clock. You will be much more aware of the results that are important and how best to reach them.

The Coach asks:

  • I realize this may be huge, but how could your key leaders benefit from some of the things you just learned? What can be implemented and maintained? What's possible? 
  • How can all of you test out a new way of working that isn't about "just putting in the hours?" 
  • Do your key leaders have clarity about precisely what they are expected to deliver on? What else could give them increased clarity and therefore focus?
  • What's possible for a whole workforce where it wasn't all about time? 


Once again, be mindful of your relationship to time today. What needs to change to set you on a new course? Take the experiments of the last few days and start to turn them into a system that serves you.

The Coach asks:

  • What have you learned from this? If one of your leaders asks you how to improve work efficiency, what will you answer them? 
  • What further do you need to research and think about? 
  • What will you do as a first step? 
  • How willing are you? 

Spiritual Reflection for Christian Leaders


As a Christian Executive Leadership Coach I encourage Christian leaders to reflect on God's Word to add to their wisdom.

  • Ps 128:2  You will each the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. 
  • Col 3:23,24  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 
  • Eph 2:10  For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
  • Pr 21:25  The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. 
  • Gal 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
  • Pr 14:23  All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

If you are a leader, executive, or senior level professional looking to work with a Christian Executive Coach, I invite you to connect with me here.

If appropriate, we can meet by phone or Zoom to discuss your situation. 

Record Your Progress

This is your opportunity to track your progress. Start by asking yourself how important this practice is to you? Record the importance as - not at all, somewhat, fairly, highly or extremely. 

Now next to it ask yourself how well you carry out this practice. Record your performance as - very poor, poor, okay, good or very good. 

Importance Performance Check

The things we track, we pay attention to. Across time, come back and record your new results. You will find that as you are intentional about making improvements, you will bump your "score" up higher. 

This is significant. Don't miss the opportunity to acknowledge your success, and use it as a springboard for making even further gain. 


Please understand. You have to meet deadlines. That's just the way it is.

The simple truth is that most leaders can meet most deadlines by following this simple practice. Want to know how to improve work efficiency ... Focus on the work that most directly contributes to reaching the end goal. Get it done. 

Don't watch the clock waiting to get to the end of your day. Don't dream about the end of the week. Just get to it and get the work done. In this way you'll more often than not complete well ahead of the task deadline.

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