We are all guilty of it – working hard without thinking about whether we are actually being productive. We think that if we just put in the hours, the work will get done and we will be successful. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, working harder is not the answer. You need to work smarter.
Here are some tips to help you work smarter, not harder:
Putting these steps into practice
1 - Set goals and priorities
Before you start your work day, take a few minutes to set your goals and priorities. What do you need to accomplish today? What is the most important task? By setting goals and priorities, you will be able to focus your energies on completing the tasks that are most important.
2 - Take breaks
It may seem counterintuitive but taking breaks can actually help you be more productive. When you take a break, you give your mind a chance to rest and rejuvenate. This means that when you return to your work, you will be able to focus better and get more done.
3 - Simplify your work process
Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. If there is a simpler way to do something, take that route. By simplifying your work process, you will save time and energy.
4 - Delegate and build a team
You can’t do everything yourself. Learn to delegate tasks to others. By building a team, you will be able to get more done in less time.
5- Automate repetitive tasks
If you find yourself doing the same task repeatedly, see if there is a way to automate it. There are many software programs and apps that can help you automate repetitive tasks. This will free up your time so that you can focus on more important things.
Setting Goals and Prioritising
It can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day of work and feel like you're just running on the hamster wheel. But if you take a step back and set some goals, both big and small, you can start to work smarter, not harder.
Think about what you want to achieve in the next month, year, or even five years. What are your long-term goals? Once you have a good understanding of where you want to be, you can start setting smaller goals that will help you get there.
It's also important to prioritize your goals. Not everything on your list will be able to be tackled right away and that's okay. Work on one thing at a time and trust that the other items will still be there when you're ready for them.
Learning to Delegate and Say No
There are only so many hours in the day, and if you want to be successful, you need to learn to use them wisely. One way to do this is to delegate tasks and learn to say no. If you try to do everything yourself, you will quickly become overwhelmed and bogged down. Not only will this impact your own productivity, but it will also affect the quality of your work.
Instead, learn to delegate tasks to other people. This could be employees, contractors, or even just friends and family members. If you have a task that someone else could easily do, there’s no reason for you to waste your time on it.
Similarly, you need to learn to say no to requests that will take up too much of your time. It’s okay to say no to things that aren’t a priority for you. By learning to delegate and say no, you can focus on the tasks that are most important to you and get more done in less time.
Taking Time for Yourself
We all know the feeling: there’s just too much to do and not enough time to do it. You’re working hard, but it feels like you’re getting nowhere. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to take a step back and reassess how you’re approaching your work. There’s no need to work harder, you just need to work smarter.
- Make a list of everything you need to do. This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people try to keep everything in their head without ever writing it down. Getting it all out of your head and onto paper (or into a digital task manager) will help you see exactly what needs to be done and plan your time accordingly.
- Prioritize your tasks. Once you have your list, take a moment to prioritize everything on it. What are the most important tasks? What can wait? What can be delegated or outsourced? By taking the time to prioritize, you can ensure that you’re spending your time on the tasks that matter most.
- Set aside dedicated work time. Once you know what needs to be done, it’s time to set aside some dedicated work time. This means no checking email, no browsing the internet, and no distractions. Turn off your phone, close your door, and focus on getting the task at hand done.
- Take breaks. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck, take a few minutes to step away from your work. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, or just take a few deep breaths. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel and how much easier it is to get back to work when you return.
- Schedule some “me” time. Finally, don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself. Whether it’s taking a yoga class, going for a run, or just relaxing with a good book, make sure you have some time each day to do something that you enjoy. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel and how much more productive you are when you take care of yourself first
Start working smarter today
We all know the feeling of working hard and not getting ahead. It's frustrating, demoralizing, and can make you feel like you're stuck in a never-ending cycle. But there is a way to break out of this cycle and start seeing results. Learn more about how digital transformation can start you on the journey of working smarter, not harder.