4 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder: Proven Tips for Productivity
The words "work smarter, not harder" are often thrown around these days, and it's easy to take this advice as a platitude without really understanding the true meaning. Working smarter is really just another way of saying that you're being more efficient and effective in your work. This blog post will provide you with four ways to improve productivity in your life so that you can truly work smarter.
#1 - Quit Multitasking
Stop doing so many things at once. Multitasking is the enemy of productivity because it prevents you from focusing on a single task for an extended period of time. You can't create great work when you're constantly jumping from one task to the next without giving any of them your full attention.
When we're distracted, our work suffers and we often take longer than usual to complete tasks. When we focus intently on one thing, however, we can get a lot done.
If you find that it's nearly impossible for you to focus on one thing at a time, start with something simple like only checking your email once every hour. Time blocking can also help you get more done by limiting your time on specific activities.
#2 - Find a Working Pattern
The Pomodoro method is a time management technique that can help you find your ideal work pattern. It works by splitting up the tasks on your to-do list into 25 minute increments of focused, distraction-free work followed by five minutes of rest and recovery.
However, you don't have to do the 25:5 pattern. You can also try different patterns based on the type of work you need to do. For example, if you're someone who needs more than 25 minutes for focus and concentration, then your pattern might be 45:15 or 50:20.
If working in fixed time increments isn't practical for your schedule - for instance, because you have meetings throughout the day - then try a different variation based on your energy levels. For example, you might do 90 minutes of work before taking a 15 minute break or 120 minutes of work with a 30 minute break in between.
The most important thing is that you pick something and stick to it so that you can get into a rhythm for working smarter.
#3 - Front Loading
Do the hardest things on your to-do list as early as possible. If you do them first thing in the morning, they'll get them out of the way and free up your day for easier tasks or other activities that bring you joy. It's also best to concentrate on your most difficult tasks towards the start of the week, as this helps you start your week off strong and avoid having them hanging over your head for several days.
#4 - Plan According to Energy Levels
Concentration and focus naturally waxes and wanes throughout the day. Some people have a natural ebb and flow to their energy levels while others' fluctuate more dramatically based on factors such as diet, sleep quality and stress levels.
You should plan your work according to what times of day you're most productive so that you can get the most done in a shorter amount of time.
For instance, if you know that after lunch your energy levels drop dramatically and it's hard for you to concentrate on anything at all - which is very common among people who work desk jobs- then save menial tasks which require little concentration for this time of day, and save the more complex jobs for a time when you're feeling more energetic.
The true secret to working smarter is to find the best patterns and techniques to get your work done so that you can maximize productivity. It might take some trial and error, but once you figure out what works for you it will be smooth sailing from there.