WORKING SMARTER NOT HARDER
We often hear about working smarter and not harder, but what does it mean to do that? I had a discussion about this with one of my team members and she was challenged by this idea, because she had SO much to do.
When we have so much to do and not enough hours in the day, how do we work smarter and not harder. It seems that there are only so many things you can squeeze into the allocated hours in the day without compromising the essentials such as sleep, eating, looking after yourself and family time.
School mornings and getting off to work can be chaos, if you let it be. Then you get to the office and there are thousands of emails, things to respond to and appointments to attend to.
When we live in a state of chaos and overwhelm, it can be a bit of a slippery slope into a vortex of constant rushing, stress and anxiety. This notion of working smarter and not harder seems that it would not work because of all these unique characteristics of your own life.
We then get in this zone of ‘oh it is okay for her because of XYZ.., but that just wouldn’t work for me’. The reality is that you are the driver of your life and only you can make these changes. However, have you thought that maybe you don’t know how to apply working smarter and not harder to your own life?I am not just talking about in business either, I am also talking about in your personal life, as to how you can buy back some of your time, in order to have more time dedicated to things you love.
Today on the podcast, in order for you to work smarter and not harder, I want to share some practical tips with you that really do help me to work smarter and not harder.
Tip 1 – Measure your time
The first tip and place to start is to measure your time for a few days. Learn where you are spending most of your time. You might feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to achieve what you want to achieve, but is this actually true. So, what you need to do is to actually jot down what you are doing every 15 minutes for a few days. Learn where you are actually spending your time. Know for a fact what it is that you do with your time. You may think that you know, but you may not actually know. When you see it is black and white, you then have something solid to work with.
Tip 2 – Schedule in your non-negotiables
Schedule in to your day, your non-negotiables. What are your priorities? The daily things that you must do every day? You make time to shower, do your hair and make-up right? These are you non-negotiables, with these examples you don’t even think about them, they are habits that you have formed over years. So what are other things that are your non-negotiables?
Tip 3 – Talk The Talk
Most of us are in the habit of emailing or texting. We have got into this habit of making appointments with people to phone them. I think this is crazy. Long discussions on backwards and forwards can be had with faceless beings on the other side of the keyboard. To work smarter and not harder, instead of using your thumbs, rather start using your mouth – connect to people on a personal level. Hopping on the phone and talking to people, will help you to achieve results faster, but not only that, is that in this day and age, it helps you to connect with people and stand out from the crowd.
Tip 4 – Keep It Short & Get To The Point Sooner
When it comes to emails, meetings, booking flights, tickets or accommodation, get to the point! I have never met anyone that enjoys long, tedious meetings or emails. Stop over explaining. So often I receive emails or go to meetings and there is so much pointless fluff involved and it is just a waste of you own time.
Be organised in meetings with the points that need to be covered. Discuss matters concisely. Say what needs to be said and ask what needs to be asked. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have chit chat and still be friendly, but if you want to work smarter and not harder, you need to treat your time and the time of others with respect.
In emails, use paragraphs and dot points and keep them simple and to the point. People don’t need your entire life story. People are smart, they will ask your questions if they need further information from you.
Tip 5 – Automate More Tasks
If there are tasks that you do repeatedly, you need to consider automating them where possible. Once you have put in place automations then you never have to think about that task again.
Stop wasting your time when you don’t need to and start working smarter. Have a think about the tasks that you do repeatedly, go back to your daily record where you tracked all of your time for a few days and look at what tasked you repeat often.
When you automate, you save yourself so much valuable time and not to mention stress
Tip 6. Batch
When you batch tasks in your life, it can save you loads of time. You can batch many different tasks from at home, right through to office tasks.
In terms of email or social media, you can bundle these tasks together a few times a day. For an example of working smarter and not harder as work let’s use emails.. You can allocate 30 minutes 3 x per day to answer people’s emails. This way, you are not getting halfway through other productive work and being interrupted by email 10 times in the hour, which then takes you off track with the work you are trying to produce. Turn your email off and only go into it when it is the allocated time to do so.
Tip 7 – And Then…. Breathe
The saying “just be” never really made any sense until I got it figured out. At times it is essential just to not do anything – savor the sounds, smells and taste of what surrounds you and let your mind wander
It is important to have these “time out” sessions whether that is your 30 minute walk, meditation or a holiday. Just to regroup and reorganize the chaos that runs in our minds. And, after all, they always say you “can’t pour from an empty cup”, so make sure you take care of yourself before trying to save the world.
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Listen in on the podcast this week where Caralee discusses how to work smarter, and not harder in all aspects of your life.
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