We’ve all heard the expression “work smarter, not harder”., but what is it exactly?
You’ve heard the expression “work smarter, not harder” before, but what does that mean exactly? When your inbox is packed, there’s a giant stack on your desk and the phone keeps ringing, how are you supposed to get it all done smarter?
As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here are five simple cures to help you work smarter in the days ahead:
The key to an effective workday is setting some structure in place. Get up at the same time Monday through Friday and carve out a routine, for instance; wake up, work out, eat breakfast, answer emails, phone calls, block out time for actual planning and work, check your email again, phone calls again, then be done for the day.
2. Drop the myth of multitasking
Drop the idea that you can multitask and be effective. The brain isn’t wired to do two tasks well at once. Focus on talking, typing, working or thinking, but don’t try to do more than one. You end up wasting more time trying to correct your words or rewrite your email. Your brain is losing efficiency each time it jumps to a new task. Focus on one thing at a time, complete it fully, then move to the next. This will help you gain much more time in the long run.
3. Urgent does not necessarily mean important
Part of being an entrepreneur is using sound judgment. You have to know your business model and products. You have to trust your judgment to hire vendors and staff. Apply that same sense of good judgment to the urgent vs. important tasks that arise everyday.
4. Turn it off
Smartphones and wi-fi are amazing. It’s easy to take them for granted now because they’ve become a part of life that wasn’t around just 10 years ago.
All this connectivity is convenience at its best, but it can also be incredibly disruptive to your workflow. To work smarter, you need to find times in the day when the instant message options are off, the email notifications are blocked and the phone is on do not disturb. All those pings, chimes and vibrating distractions take your brain out of a creative process.
5. Take lots of breaks
How can you take lots of breaks and still get anything done? Easy! It’s all about structure again. When you plan out your day to have moments of time between tasks for breaks, you’re setting yourself up for success. When you go, go, go, you end up burning out big time. However, if you set up time for short walks, meals and other small blocks of time to reset your brain and fuel your body, you’ll have the energy and juicy brain matter you need to go strong all day.