Most people know how to work hard but miss the mark when it comes to working smarter. They spin their wheels so often that they eventually lose interest and burn out completely. What if there were better ways to get things done that didn’t drain your precious life energy and leave you feeling defeated? Would you be all for changing your approach to work?
There are ways to help yourself be more efficient without sacrificing your physical and mental health. Some take no real effort to implement and become habitual with practice. Make them part of your daily routine right away and measure your progress as you become a more focused, well-adjusted version of yourself.
The Advantages That Come With Being a Smarter Worker
Smarter workers experience greater advantages in their personal and professional lives. They’re able to manage their time and energy in a way that benefits not only them but also their employers. Doors of opportunity swing open for them because of their ability to adapt quickly.
The benefits of working smarter not harder are:
- Your life has a clearer purpose. You’re aware of your strengths and weaknesses as well as your goals and dreams. You can work in a job that aligns with your values and fills you up instead of making you feel down.
- Stress doesn’t get the best of you. You have tried-and-true methods for dealing with life’s stressors. Even when life throws a curveball at you, you’re able to deal with it with patience and grace.
- You’re able to reach your fullest potential. You know ways to get the best work from yourself. That way, you’re not left wondering why you didn’t do more to pursue your dreams.
- You get given opportunities that you previously dreamed about. Raises, promotions, and new chances to meet with people in your industry exist in abundance. They’re yours for the taking because you consistently prove your value with the work you do.
- You have more time to do the things you enjoy doing. Your personal life is just as fulfilling as your professional life. You have achieved a work/life balance.
- You maintain the respect of the people you work for and with. You’re a team player and a role model. People emulate you because of your uncanny ability to get things done without sacrificing your health or happiness.
- You’re always one step closer to reaching your goals. You never run out of great ideas or big dreams. Everything you do has a purpose, which is to help you achieve your goals.
There are many reasons why you should focus on being a smarter, not harder worker. Doing so allows you to conserve your energy so you can channel it into other things that benefit you. You’ll know right away that you’re on the right track by measuring your level of satisfaction with your life.
Tips to Work Smarter Not Harder
The following suggestions explain how to work smarter, not harder. Each focuses on self-preservation as it becomes difficult to maintain the breakneck speed in which you work long-term. Save your energy for something more worthwhile, ok?
Be Very Selective About What You Spend Your Time Doing
Quite simply, do more of the work you enjoy and understand the value of your time. This is your one precious life to live, and no one gets to dictate what you do to pass the days. Even if you have a job with a boss that you have to answer to, you still have options about where you work and whom you work with. If you’re not happy with your current situation, remedy it.
When you’re selective with your time, labor, and talent, something magical happens. You’re far more productive and less reluctant to change. You’re able to get more done in less time.
Think about how each task that you do makes you feel. Are there things that stress you out? Are there people willing to take on the work if you were to give it to them?
You may find that asking for help benefits you tremendously. It provides you with additional people to assist you in the event you can’t get the job done productively on your own.
Outsourcing the work to them can make a massive difference in the management of your schedule. You may find that it gives you a great sense of relief to delegate some of your duties to other capable parties. Doing so frees you up to focus on the things that you do well and without reluctance.
Prepare for the Following Day in Advance
Rather than rush through the morning only to realize you forgot to water your plants, feed the dog, or follow up on tasks you needed to address, you take a more leisurely approach to starting your day. If you prepare the night before, you’ll be at a real advantage timewise. Laying out your clothes, meal prepping your lunch, filling your water bottle, and reviewing your schedule helps you physically and mentally prepare for the future.
No matter what happens to throw a curveball your way, you’ve already taken the steps necessary to deal with some of the stresses of your everyday routine. You don’t need to spend time trying to put together an outfit that looks good, figuring out what you’ll do for lunch, stopping to buy a bottle of water, or prepare for a big speech. You’ll be on point and ready to go the minute you walk out the door.
When your presentation is loaded onto your computer and ready for the afternoon meeting, you chose the type of lunch to eat, and your vehicle is full of gas, you save countless hours each year. You can then use the time you’ve banked to do some of the things you’ve meant to do but been forced to put off such as spend time with family or go on a much-needed vacation.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Take a few minutes to express gratitude for all that you have outwardly. It’s one of the easiest ways to shift your mood quickly. When you have an attitude adjustment first thing in the morning, it sets the course for the rest of your day.
Keeping a gratitude journal gives you a visual reminder of just how fortunate you truly are. You can even choose to jot down a few things that you’re thankful for in a planner. The point is not to dwell on the things that worry you but to pay tribute to all the things that make you feel happy and abundant.
When you choose to look on the bright side of things, few challenges sway your momentum. You feel like you’re in control of your input and outcome. It boosts your self-confidence and makes it, so you’re able to do everything you set out to do in record time.
Focus on Results
It’s easy to get caught up in comparison. You may find people are achieving their goals faster than you are. It makes you feel discouraged and wants to give up trying to improve yourself.
The best way to deal with feelings of inadequacy concerning goal setting is to measure your results, not your time. Everyone peaks at their own pace. Instead of giving yourself time constraints, why not focus on how your progress makes you feel?
It may take you longer to feel confident in a leadership role when it takes other people just a few months at the company you work at to get a promotion. Don’t worry! Keep your eye on the prize and start building an impressive resume.
Before you know it, you’ll be ready to take on a new position with greater confidence. You’ll know that you’re the absolute right fit for the job, too, because you won’t have rushed into taking it.
Complete One Task Before Moving Onto Another
Do one single thing at a time. Stay focused and tune out the “shiny new ideas” until you’re done. Follow up on tasks that take more than a few days to complete or require another person’s assistance or approval to finish.
Although some people are great at multitasking, most are not. When you give your undivided attention to a task, you’re able to perform it better. You go above and beyond to make sure that you do it on time and correctly.
Being able to knock out the most complicated tasks with the greatest of ease takes practice. The more that you get in the habit of identifying your three Most Important Tasks (MITs), the better able you are to structure your day around getting them done.
If a less critical task takes you five minutes or less to complete, tackle it first. It helps you master your to-do list confidently.
Learn to Say, “No!”
Use a “To Don’t” list. Don’t agree to stay at work when you have somewhere else to be. Go home when you’re behind.
It’s far too easy to feel guilty when someone springs their agenda on you unexpectedly. There is no worse way to work than under pressure or emotional duress. Rather than allow yourself to feel bad about the last-minute project or get-together, decline by letting the person know that you’ve already made plans for the afternoon or evening, and you cannot reschedule.
If your personal life suffers due to your professional life, you may feel sad or unappreciated. In those cases, productivity comes to a standstill. If you can’t stand to disappoint your family or friends by not meeting with them after work, take the opportunity to explain to your boss that you’re not available and ask if they could find someone else to handle the work in place of you.
Clearly Represent Your Dream
Make a vision board. Be concise with what you want. The sky is the limit when it comes to realizing your dreams.
Take a few minutes to visualize success and get to know what it means to you. Then cut images and words out of magazines that represent those concepts. Use a glue stick to affix the cut-outs to a piece of heavy cardstock or poster board.
Hang your vision board in your office or cubicle, where you’ll see it often. Make it look like something that inspires you. Whenever you see the vision board, take one action step that brings you closer to reaching your goal and making your dreams come true.
Once you’ve achieved your goals, replace the old vision board with a new one. You can continue to do this regularly. There is no end to the number of vision boards you can create, visualize, and use as a tool to get more done.
Take Charge of Your Actions
The undated planner allows you to plan your weeks and months with the greatest of ease. It comes with over 150 stickers to help you identify the most important life events and tasks that happen throughout the year. It also has three enclosed ribbon bookmarks that make marking and flipping through pages easy.
Learn How to Be Resilient
Find productive ways to relieve stress. If left unattended, it can affect your performance at work, which could lead to bigger problems. It also takes its toll on your health by making it hard to eat and sleep.
When you realize just how powerful and in control you are, you’re able to choose how you react to stress. You may not have any say on what happens around you. You do, however, have choices in how you respond to stressful situations.
Some good stress management tools and practices to explore are yoga, meditation, deep breathing, journaling, and goal setting. You can take a walk, get a massage, or chat up a friend who you haven’t seen in a long time. Stepping away from the situation to do something pleasurable helps you get past the feeling of helplessness you experience when things go awry.
Work With an End Goal in Mind
Use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. It states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If you give yourself a week to do a job that takes hours to complete, you’ll spend the entire time you’ve allotted to finish it.
Similarly, if you give yourself a strict deadline for the long-term projects you have to finish, you’ll do them with greater ease and with less procrastination. You’re putting Parkinson’s Law into effect. You can apply this theory in your personal and professional lives to become a goal-slaying superstar.
A Planner Helps You Get More Done in Less Time and in an Organized Way
If you want to know how to work smarter and not harder, you’ve got to be a willing student. Buying yourself the Clever Fox Planner helps you organize your thoughts and get your to-dos down on paper. You’re then able to discover opportunities to improve your situation by implementing the tips listed above. You can take charge of your life, get hyper-focused on your goals, build resiliency, and home in on accountability for your thoughts, words, and actions.