Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Do you think you work hard or do you think you work smart?
I think we can do both.
How do we define working hard or smart?
Do smart people not work hard? Do hard workers not work smart?
We will look at ways in which to work smart, whilst still working hard.
When I was a child I always remember my parents saying to me....you have to work hard in this life if you want to achieve anything and that's always been drummed into me. I think that shows through with my work ethic and I do always work hard. But is there such a thing as working too hard??
I mean if you 'burn the midnight oil' does that mean you are the best because you are working all the hours?? Or does it mean that you are not using your time wisely?
What are the consequences of working till you drop??...less time with the family and friends, exhaustion, falling ill.
We all know that life is not easy and yes we should work hard to achieve the best in life, but it should definitely not be at the determent of our health or well being - that's where working smartly has it's place.
We cannot separate working hard and working smart - they go hand in hand.
No one decided to work smartly and then stop working altogether.
The phrase means different things to different people, here are my tips for working smart:
1. Time yourself doing tasks
We all have limited concentration levels at one time. Use the Pomodoro method which is focusing on work for 25 minutes - use a timer. Followed by a 5 minute break. This works a treat, keeps you really focused on the job in hand.
Switch off all devices with no notifications and close all your internet tabs apart from the ones you are working on.
In the 5 minutes take a walk and put the kettle on or take a toilet break but DO NOT look at social media or answer texts etc.
Then return to do another 25 minutes and you will find this will supercharge your productivity.
2. Set clear goals and intentions
We can get very distracted these days although if you are following the previous tip then hopefully not so much.
Set your goals for the day and stick to it....write down realistic and manageable goals for the day and don't let yourself get distracted.
Either use a piece of paper to write down what you want to achieve that day or use an online tool to help you stay focused such as Trello or Asana, both of these systems are brilliant at helping you keep on track, plus less paper on your desk.
3. Automating tasks
Want to get the secret of getting more done? Reduce the amount of decisions you have to make throughout the day.
Right, so even if you are not ready or cannot set up an online system then at least write down the processes that you follow regularly.....for instance when you take on a new client, what is the workflow that follows this and write it down or type it into a spreadsheet so that it's easier to see all the processes you need to do after a new client makes contact.
This is a format you can follow for any of your regular tasks, doesn't have to just be for a new client but the more you write down your processes or workflows, the more you will feel in control.
Automated online systems, sometimes known as CRM systems can be great for automating your workflows so you don't need to worry what's next on the lsit. I use Dubsado in my business and it has really enhanced both my business and my clients experience.
4. Stop multitasking
We all believe that we're multitaskers. In fact, as humans we just aren't capable of doing multiple things at once (even the women!).
"People can't multitask very well, and when people say they can, they're deluding themselves," said neuroscientist Earl Miller. "The brain is very good at deluding itself."
I really agree with this statement since having my own business - it was ok multitasking as an employee but it's just not possible in your own business.
You're not paying full attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly and achieving neither efficiently.
So the next time you have the urge to multitask, stop. Take a breather and then go back to focus on the one thing that needs to get done right now. Once that's done, then you can move on to something else.
5. Do more of the work you enjoy
Not everyone is privileged enough to do what you love for a living. Even if you are chasing your dreams and following your passions, there will still be tasks you're not fond of doing. In either case, focus more on the work that you actually enjoy doing.
When you do, you'll feel more fulfilled, inspired, challenged, and productive.
Even with all these tips you are still working very hard at creating a successful business, but more importantly you are working SMARTER. By working smarter you are able to achieve more and fundamentally have the capacity to grow your business.
My business is based around helping business owners work more smartly and supercharge their productivity with their day to day tasks. If this is something I can help you with then click here so that I can find out more about your biggest needs right now.