Top 5 Productivity Tips for Working Smarter
As a professional, the phrase “work smarter, not harder,” is something you have probably heard a lot throughout your career. This phrase often conjures the image of some high-level executive chilling on a beach scrolling through their tablet and a cocktail within reach. It is a phrase that touches on your emotional and intellectual desire to “have it all,” without exerting too much effort, but doesn’t really tell you how to actually go about working smart, not hard.
What does it really mean to work smart?
The thing to understand is that working smart is different for every person depending on their approach to work and their unique definition of success. Still, every description of what it means to work smarter seems to revolve around having an immense amount of self-awareness and leveraging other people’s time and money. Being more self-aware of your goals allows you to work in a more deliberate manner, prioritize needs, cut losses, and even know when to ask for help.
For instance, if your current objective is to hire expert freelancers, then working smarter means making sure to identify all the key milestones in the process and finding the most efficient way to get it done. In other words, working smart is all about playing to your strengths, identifying any gaps, and building a solid network around you to bridge them in order to find great freelancers in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
Start working smarter by following these five simple tips
Working smarter doesn’t just happen. It requires a bit of thought and dedication. But don’t worry, the results will be worth the extra brain and willpower. Here’s how you can strategize your work for success:
1. Know yourself
Ask yourself what tasks you really enjoy and which ones you absolutely loathe. If you’re having a hard time arriving at a clear answer, simply think about which projects you usually start immediately after receiving them and which ones you tend to push off. If you’re constantly facing tasks that you consistently place on the back burner, then it leads to procrastination, which is unproductive. This goes beyond just the jobs you like and dislike; you should also know what it takes for you to reach peak productivity. There is no “right” way here as it’s really about knowing the way you tick and accommodating your own unique preferences. So simply keep it real with yourself!
2. Prioritize what you must do and delegate the rest
Delegating tasks that you shouldn't be doing to someone who should be, frees up your precious time to focus on what you should actually be doing. For instance, as a business owner, you already know that digital marketing is one of the cornerstones of any successful advertising and brand awareness campaign. Instead of trying to figure out which from what, why not hire a digital marketing freelancer instead? This way, you can take on your own tasks in order of priority. Look at your to-do list for the day, identify those items that you can do in less than 30 minutes and do them immediately. For tasks that will take longer, simply schedule and prioritize them. You’ll be surprised at how much more you’re able to get done in a day,
3. Hire people smarter than you
It turns out working smarter means accepting the fact that there are people who are smarter than you in specific areas, particularly those areas where you know you're not as proficient. Are you trying to craft a compelling ad for your business? Find an expert graphic designer for hire. Perhaps you’re trying to make some tweaks to your company website? Hire a freelance web developer! As an organization, it is impossible to grow or succeed when all the work has to be done by you. Bring in talented people and let everyone do what they do best! If you’re looking for where to hire freelance experts, then be sure to check out online freelance marketplaces like Kadrae, which can give you a quick start to finding your freelance rockstar.
4. Focus on systems instead of goals
From an early age, many of us are taught to pursue goals -- get high grades, work your way to a promotion, retire with this amount. For the most part, working as hard as you can, will hopefully help you achieve your goal. However, the reality is most goals are out of our control. We have limited control over the future, the economy, other people’s actions among many other variables. This is why your focus should be on systems rather than goals, since in a system, you’re working with all the parts that you do control. A system simply refers to a “repeatable process.” Getting 1000 subscribers to your company newsletter is a goal, writing 500 words a day is a repeatable process. The good thing about focusing on a system is that it doesn't just increase your productivity, but increases the productivity and deliverables of your team as well. Using the illustration above for instance, if you recently found some freelancer editors for hire, then setting up a system for them to edit 2000 words a day means you can get much closer to achieving your goal of obtaining 1000 newsletter subscribers. The idea here is to reward efforts instead of achievement and watch as these small gains compound over time.
5. Take a break
It’s easy to assume that working through your breaks will increase productivity. After all, you’re getting more done. However, that’s not really the case. Even the busiest people need to clear their minds and de-stress. If you’re not building time into your schedule to take a few breathers throughout the day, the workload can quickly feel overwhelming, which will only impact your productivity for the worse. Step away from your desk, stretch your legs, drink some water and just turn your mind off from work-related concerns. This can help you cope better especially with monotonous work.
Are you ready to work smarter?
Of course, you are! And the 5 tips in this post will help put you on the right path. Now there’s nothing left to it, but to do it and in no time, you’ll be working smarter, not harder.