We all want to work smarter, not harder to be effective at work and get things done on time. We can achieve this professional goal no matter which industry we belong to. The true spirit of getting things done smartly is more than just creating your to-do list for daily tasks and checking your calendar each time. It will require a few adjustments in your work habits and you can watch your productivity to soar.
You are always in a pang of guilt that you lack behind and finds it hard to meet your deadline even with the hard work. Working tirelessly for long hours will immensely affect your health and you can’t take it for too long. Researcher at HBR says that the employee’s productivity decreases after 6-hours at work.
So, instead of wasting your time you can focus on those activities that matter the most. Let’s have a look at the 15 effective tips to work smarter not harder.
1. Develop a routine
When we develop a routine, we can carry out tasks quicker as we don’t have to spend time thinking about what task to do or spend time on task preparation. It’s like working on autopilot. The calendar apps can help you develop a routine and make you stick to the established routine.
2. Automate your recurring tasks
Here is the secret sauce to getting more things done in lesser time, automate your recurring tasks. Automate the tasks that come to your to-list regularly. There is no need to spend more time on such tasks, you just need to set them on autopilot. Like, you need to send emails to your clients every day then you should use email automation software like MailChimp, Drip or Active Campaign to make things easier for you.
This will help you to build a routine so that you don’t have to decide each time and prepare for it. By leveraging the benefits of automation, you can focus more on other important tasks that really need your attention.
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3. Say no to ‘Multi-Tasking’
We are humans and we are not capable of doing multiple tasks at one time. Though, we are much motivated to please our bosses by saying that you can manage multiple projects at the same time, just don’t do it. This will ruin your performance and can make you lose interest after some time.
Our brain deludes itself, but still, people say that they can do multitasking. In actual, we only shift our attention between tasks but switching between the tasks very rapidly will have an adverse effect on our performance. There is a need to focus on one task at a time to get more done. This is a useful technique to work smarter not harder.
4. Leverage procrastination
According to Parkinson’s law, “When you wait for the last minute, it takes only a minute to do it.”
The sauce of project success is that do not wait till the last minute of the project deadline. If the deadline is hanging on your head for the whole week, don’t leave it for the last day. This gives you the leverage to work smarter to get more done in time to help in nailing your project.
5. Take the stress off your shoulders
Stress can cause serious health problems that can affect your emotional and physical behavior. You can adversely affect your energy at work, health, work-life balance, and lose focus. In short, it will affect your performance at work.
Look for stress relief activities like sports, go for a trip, listen to your favorite podcasts, go for a walk, exercise, or spend time with friends and family. If you take precautionary measures in advance, this will help by resulting in less or no stress.
6. Do the work you enjoy
What’s a good use of doing a job you really do not enjoy? You can’t take that for long. Even if you are working in your dream organization, there are still some tasks that you don’t like to do. Just focus more on the work you enjoy.
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“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in work”. Aristotle.
7. Reduce the clutter
As a manager you have been assigned a project, naturally, your mind will be filled with hundreds of tasks and will think of roadmap on how to get it done. The super hack to work smarter and not harder is think of ways that will not create a mess for you.
8. Track your results
When you focus on improving your work productivity, you see how long it will take you to finish your work. Instead, you should focus on your results rather than just time as you will require to spend more time on some tasks that are crucial to your project.
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“A goal is a dream with deadlines”. Napoleon Hill.
9. Adjust your attitude
You need to be positive to work more effectively. People with a positive attitude can take good initiative whenever needed and they get help from their colleagues in their work more easily.
A good attitude at your work and personal life will help you set a benchmark for your performance and this shows that you can take on responsibility. Moreover, this will help you in making quick decisions. This tip to work smart and not the hard way could help open doors of good opportunities in the future.
10. Communication is the key
No matter what is your job role or working in any industry, you will have to work with a team to achieve professional goals. You should improve your collaboration and communication skills. This will assist you to eliminate wastage of time and doing rework all the time.
Miscommunication will cost your performance at work and dollars as well for your organization. You must work with your team with seamless communication to help collaborate on tasks and issues.
If you want to work smarter then you must take off some time to ask yourself what needs to be improved to make the most out of your time? Where you get stuck every time? How to organize yourself? Block time off your calendar and a self-meeting to groom your work schedule.
12. Prioritize your tasks
Here is the main part, where you will have to forego some tasks that are not giving you any benefit. Do you need to ask yourself: What tasks matters to you? What are your primary goals? Are feeling distracted? This is where you will need to prioritize your daily tasks and focus on the ones they are most important.
13. Do the important task first
There are times when you are loaded with many tasks. Don’t start your day by checking out your emails or any other least important task. Try to focus on the most important task first to avoid any issues in your project.
If your important tasks are finished by the end of the day, you will be happier and relaxed.
14. Plan in advance
Don’t wait for the last minute to arrange your things. If you see that your stocks are low you should make a call to your vendor to deliver the stock before you run out of stock completely and had to face dissatisfied customers.
15. Keep a buffer time between tasks
Don’t rush to finish off your work. When you rush for the tasks you will easily lose the focus and affect the quality of the work. Take some time out to have coffee, take a fresh breath and then get to work.
Over to you:
Now, it’s up to you on how you can organize yourself to work smarter, not harder to get more done. If you have any suggestions on the above tips you can let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org