Do you have a million items on your to-do list with not enough hours in the day?
Off course you are more than familiar with this scenario, right? Frankly, whether you’re working a traditional 9-to-5 gig or running your own business, we all struggle with productivity. So, what is the answer? Working more hours?
Think about Parkinson’s law: Tasks expand to the time allotted. Which means if you have all day to write a blog post, it will take you all day. If you have all day to make sales calls, it will take all day … you get the idea?
So, here are a few tips to help you to beat the clock without any additional effort – aka here’s how to work smarter, not harder:
- Take 10 minutes to prepare the night before. Have a “to-don’t-do” list. You’ll know exactly which project to dive into first. Focus on fewer tasks but obsess over the ones you prioritise to produce quality work.
- Start your day with an opening ritual. Begin each day the same way. Exercise followed by your morning coffee …? An opening ritual will ease your mind, body and soul into the day.
- Check your emails first to make sure you’re on the same page as everyone else. Dealing with important issues first, helps you to make quick decisions whether your day needs to be adjusted.
- High performers tend to think it’s easier to do everything themselves, but to be more effective delegate what you shouldn’t do.
- Use technology to streamline your work. Keep your eyes and ears open for new technology and embrace it for maximum effectiveness.
- Limit meetings to 30 minutes. If everything can’t be covered in 30 minutes, then you probably need a few 30 minute meetings to achieve the desired outcome.
- Unplug every 90 minutes. On average your brain is able to remain focused for only 90 minutes. By taking breaks roughly every 90 minutes, you allow mind and body to renew.
- Abandon ideas of multitasking. This will slow you down and ruin your focus.
- Eliminate distractions. Have you counted all the times you’ve checked your phone when you receive a notification? Enough said!
- Talk more. Make quick phone calls to get issues resolved. This could save time communicating over emails.
- Nap during lunch time. Research shows that a 20 minute nap in the afternoon will recharge, refresh and reinvigorate mind and body.
- Bring the outside in. Consider a desk plant. Plants reduce stress and increase happiness; this may have something to do with the fact that plants can reduce the chemicals emitted into the air.
- Be happy. A study from the University of Warwick found that happiness made people 12% more productive. So, take care of YOU. Exercise, meditate and eat healthy. Express gratitude and surround yourself with optimistic people.
- Take a “Sabbath”. Spend one day during the week when you don’t work. Do something you love; respecting this will be good for your soul – and even better for business!
Working smarter means getting the same results in less time.
Give it a shot. You’ll be happier, get more work done, and get to see your kids for dinner. Now that’s what we call working smart!