Who wants to do drive themselves into the ground? It’s doubtful that you will get anyone to raise their hand for that idea. We all want to relax and chill, but the truth is, we need to work. To be happy and productive, work smart not harder. Here are 10 tips for mastering that idea.
1. Be the King or Queen of delegation. This doesn’t mean that you have to be like the royalty of old and start chopping heads. It means being a leader with great ideas on how to get things done and usually adding some fun to the process. People like to do tasks for others, when they receive praise and feel that their efforts are worth the time they put in. Delegate with a golden touch.
2. Master the priorities. Again, you have to be the ruler. Treat yourself well but don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of doing non-essential things. Decide what needs your full focus and do that one thing before moving onto the next high priority.
3. Be a master planner. Have you ever seen someone attempt to build a backyard deck without following a plan. Very few people have the skills to do priority tasks without doing careful planning. Following a well thought out plan will help you manage your time effectively and reach your goals.
4. Be a keyboard wizard. Typing at a slow pace is frustrating and cuts in the time you need to work on all your high priority tasks. If you are not able to type at a high rate of speed, then it is best to learn how to type faster by taking a course. Using keyboard shortcuts can also be a great help. Many people speed up their writing by using voice software like the one found in Google Docs.
5. Be kind-take a break. It’s smart to take breaks. When you have been working hard, either doing short bursts or working long stretches, you still need a break. Becoming overwhelmed and tired will lead to making mistakes in your work. At the end of all that hard work, you will go back and find that it not up to the standards that you have set for yourself and you will need to re-do some of it. Taking short breaks will keep your health in check and you are less likely to get sick and have to take time off from work.
6. Pick up the phone. In today’s world, most people rely on emails to contact people, even in their own organization. Speed things up by calling instead. You will get a feel for who is available for calls and who is never going to answer. Keep track of those who are receptive and just stick to emailing or texting those who will either not respond or has a tendency to get annoyed.
7. Put repetitive tasks on auto. In the run of a day, you will find yourself doing repetitive tasks. Put an end to that and work smarter, not harder. In your computer you can write mini-programs that will take care of repetitive tasks for you. For example, if you use Excel, there are programs in there that can be used for repeat jobs. Look for templates wherever possible. You can simply load them and fill them in. Templates can be downloaded for free or a small fee and can be used for repeat writing or graphic jobs like sales pages for example.
8. Deadlines are key. Set and keep deadlines not just for your high priority items but everything. Procrastinating means that you will have to work harder. First you have to work to pull out of procrastination, then you have to work harder to catch up. Set a dead certain deadline for a task, then reach the goal of completing it on time. Have a small reward and then get busy and nailing the next deadline.
9. You are the boss of your time. You need to gently, but firmly make sure that family, friends and co-workers understand, that your time is precious. In order to avoid working harder, you need to keep distractions at bay. They will pull your focus and then it is difficult to get your focus back. Be smart and keep an internal punch clock in your head. Punch into work and punch out when the job is done smart.
10. Move it, move it. Just like that famous song in Disney, you need to move it. Doing your work in one spot can lead to stagnation. Try using a combination of your typical desk at work, with a standing desk beside it. Switching back and forth will do wonders for your body and keep you from getting drowsy. If possible, move back and forth, from those, to perhaps taking the laptop into an empty conference room for a bit. Moving around will help you stay sharp and focused. At home, you have unlimited ideas for the same thing. Multiple desks, comfortable chairs and so on that you can move from one spot to another.