Secrets of Working Smarter, not Harder
May 28, 2019
How many of you have heard the phrase “Work Smarter—Not Harder?” Now, how many of us come so close to working smarter—yet do not achieve our goals as efficiently as we would like? The tips below are tried and true and will help you to accomplish as much as possible each and every workday. By achieving more, you'll decrease your stress levels and become an overall more productive person!
Prioritize and plan
Do what must be done today—FIRST! Then, decide what tasks can wait until tomorrow. I suggest creating a monthly calendar for all the tasks that are most critical and also routine. This will give you an overview of your month, week, and days at a glance. You should dedicate no more than two or three most important tasks to each day (depends on the project scope, of course). If you fill your plate on Monday with all your tasks for the entire week, you'll likely hop from project to project without actually completing a single one. Tasks completed on time make for happy customers!
Prepare in advance
At the end of each workday, figure out what you need to get done the next day. Refer to the calendar you put together for the month. Most people are more productive and better able to focus in the morning. Lay out everything you need to get started right away the next business day. This will ensure that you take advantage of your most productive hours. If you are a ‘night owl’ and begin work later in the day—the same principal applies. Simply take a small block of time at the end of your workday to go through all your tasks to figure out what you need to get started the following day.
Schedule tasks and set reminders
If you continuously find yourself remembering that you forgot to follow up with a client or reply to an important message at the very last minute, it's time to rely on something other than your mind to remind you. Use technology to schedule tasks and reminders. Using the ‘reminder’ function of smart phones is a great tool! Or if you prefer to write things down (many of us still do) make a few notations in your daily planner or pop up a few sticky notes around your desk. Most computers have electronic sticky note apps now that are displayed on the desktop of your OS. Managing time effectively is a critical part of being productive. Productive people prepare ahead of time. Whatever works best for you is the name of the game and you owe it to yourself and your clients to stay in the loop at all times. Bonus—this will minimize stress.
Focus on one task at a time
This is easier said than done with the amount of phone calls, texts and emails all of us receive each day. These daily, routine, disruptions to finishing big projects can also be managed. Make it a goal to block time during the day and disconnect for a period of time. Resist the temptation to emails or texts, unless it is truly urgent. Whatever the disruption is—will wait! By getting the most pressing and important tasks done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping your stress levels down. The sense of satisfaction for completing a large task is much greater than it is for a small task and it will set the tone for the rest of your day.
Remember to take a break
Yes, you CAN take a break! If you've been focusing for hours on a project and you're drawing a blank or maybe frustrated, it's time to walk away for a short break. Taking a break isn't the same as giving up, in fact, it makes you more productive and creative. Plus, if you sit most of the day—a short walk several times through the workday is good for you. Then, when you're back in front of your computer, you'll be refreshed and start developing great ideas instead of drawing blanks.
At JQ Designs, we rely on these strategies so we can successfully “Work Smarter—Not Harder” to make our customers look good. Give these tips a try—they will make you look good too!