5 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder
- Rework your to-do list: These are the big, tough tasks for your day that you really need to get done; the ones that will keep you in the office past the time you planned to leave.
One more to-do list tip: Focus only on today.
- Measure your results, not your time: The whole idea of working smarter rather than harder stems from the fact that many of us put in more and more hours only to find we don’t get more done. That’s why we want to find methods to be more productive in less time.
One way to do this is to adjust the way you measure productivity. If you evaluate yourself by what you actually get done rather than the time it takes to get something done, you’ll start to notice a difference in how you work.
Focus on measuring by results, not by time on task, and you’ll definitely get more done.
- Build habits to help you start working: If you don’t have a plan for what to work on first, you tend to procrastinate and waste time in the mornings. You might have a different danger time for procrastination, but getting started seems to be a hurdle for most of us.
One way to overcome this problem is building a routine that tells your brain and body it’s time to work.
Other ways to get into a working mindset can include sitting down at your desk or workspace, turning off your phone or putting it away, exercising, stretching, or eating breakfast. You could even have an album or playlist that gets you in the mood to work and listen to that as part of your routine.
Routines aren’t a sign of boring, regimented people. Routines are a sign of people who have goals and have found the best way-for them-to actually accomplish their goals.
- Track where you waste time: If you’re struggling to be productive, it’s tempting to change your routine or try new solutions before you uncover the real problem.
The first step in becoming more productive is to identify your regular time-sucks. Start by tracking what you do every morning to get ready for work. You might find you’re spending time on things such as choosing your clothes, something you could do the night before.
- Build habits to help you stop working: This one might seem a bit strange, but it really works. Some of us struggle to stop workinsg, rather than (or as well as) start working.
Another benefit of a strict cut-off time is you’ll be a lot more motivated to complete your to do’s is the pressure of a looming deadline will help keep you focused.