How to Work SMARTER Not Harder

Eight hours is a long time. Can you imagine sitting through an eight hour movie? Do you get excited at the thought of an eight hour car ride?

So why is it that the eight hours we spend at work races by and is never enough time to get everything done? Instead of staying late and wearing yourself down, try working smarter not harder.

#1 Focus

The best way to work smarter? By focusing! Remember when you were in school and you forced yourself to go to the library alone and turned your phone off? You were so productive back then! After a few hours, all of your work was complete and you felt amazing.

While easier said than done, you have to try to recreate this effect at work. Set aside time each day where you turn off your phone, don’t check your email and ignore your co-workers. This sounds harsh, but the best way to focus on a difficult task is to cut out all distractions. By spending one hour a day isolated and taking your most complex assignment, you can free up your mind for the rest of the day. You will be less stressed, less drained and more productive. Every day block out an hour on your calendar and make it clear to your co-workers that it is your hour to get down to business.

#2 Take breaks

Never underestimate the importance of taking breaks, similar to focusing, in your breaks you need to switch off completely. Do something different, go for a walk and take in some air. Having some space to think about things that are unrelated to your work will make you so much more efficient when you return.

#3 Work with a timer

The Pomodoro Technique works really well for us, basically it means that you set a timer for 25 minutes and do nothing but work for those 25 minutes. You focus on the task in hand, you eliminate distractions and you launch full on into your tasks. Then when the 25 minutes is up you get a luxurious 5 minute break to do whatever you want. Rinse and repeat, and after 4 ‘Pomodoros’ you get to have a 15 – 20 minute break.

#4 Manage a team

It can be hard to delegate tasks, but it’s important to use or create a team to work to their strengths. Doing everything by yourself means you are working hard but you aren’t working smart. Find people around you who will help you with the tasks you’re working on and train them, don’t just trust them to get the job done.

#5 Pre plan

Planning ahead is the best way to get things done. You need to come to the office with a clear structure of what you need to do and when you need to do it by, although it seems silly, spending some time outside of the office making a little plan in your work diary will really help you out in the long run. Or try this weekly desk pad to write down all your to dos!

By Jacqueline DeMarco

 

 

20 Comments
  1. You’re dead on about keeping a work diary, not only does it help you plan and prioritize, but it always feels great to get to check something off your list once it’s done! Overall great tips! I’m definitely excited to try the timer tip your suggested.

  2. Very true! It’s interesting to think of an 8-hour work day in terms of a road trip or a movie. It’s such a long time to be working when you put it that way. These are great tips! I also keep a work diary, it’s SO helpful.

  3. I also use the Pomodoro technique to work on my daily basis and it does work for me and improves my productivity! thanks for sharing! great post! xoxo

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  4. I feel like you guys need to reduce the amount of articles/content you put out in a day/week.
    Like have a standard and reasonable number you chunk out every week (say five? to represent each day of the working week? You decide).
    There’s too much (great content) to keep up with.
    A lot of the blogs I started following and stopped was because I couldn’t keep up and did not want to feel like I missed something, so I stopped all together.
    Remember, this blog is targeted at “busy career girls”. We cannot spend all our time absorbing all your wise words and inspiring articles, but no time to go out there and do something/be something.

    An addicted reader’s opinion.

  5. I agree about the phone. Since I started “hiding” my phone from myself (leaving it in my bag on silent), I have been much more productive at work. I check my phone on my “mini-breaks”. In my personal life, I don’t have to-do lists, as I find them stressful (I know what I have to do I just don’t like having a specific order, done by a certain day, etc.). However at work, it’s vital. I agree that having a work diary (or notebook for me) and planning out my day and following day and things to get done by the end of the week, etc. is essential and keeps you on top of your work. Also, I manage a small team at work and it’s true that dividing up the tasks helps, but what’s important, as stated above, is training them; I couldn’t agree more!! Just trusting the work to get done is not enough sometimes.

    I’ve never commented on a blog post before, but I’d like to say, CGD, that I’m a big fan and I read your posts almost everyday. Keep doing what you do! #girlboss slash also a big fan! :-)

  6. i think this blog is great! I’m literally just starting off in the blogging world(5 years too late i know) and at the moment I am just loving reading interesting blogs like this one that aren’t all mascara focussed :) Thanks for the inspo xx #girlsruntheworld

  7. I enjoyed reading this, I can relate to all the examples and above and I will try all the tips out. Thank you.

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