First and foremost, what does it actually mean to work smart? Truth be told, it can mean different things for different types of people and their varying definitions of success. However, working smart, for many people, essentially means figuring out your own core strengths and working on them, in order to boost productivity, complete tasks and reach goals as efficiently as possible. We’re shedding a light on how you can start to work smarter.
Many of us like to believe we’re master multi taskers, however, it is actually very rarely the case. Multitasking sounds like a great idea in theory, perhaps you’ll fire through your to-do list at a quicker pace, but the truth is, you’re never going to produce your best work when you’re flitting between projects, as your focus is rapidly changing, leaving your brain feeling scattered.
Instead of producing work to your highest standard, you’ll likely end up with multiple poor-quality projects. Rather than trying to do everything at once, prioritise your to-do list for the day and focus on one task at a time. Once it’s done, move on to the next.
2. Write a functional to-do list
There’s nothing worse than looking at your to-do list for the day and feeling nothing but dread. Not only that, but an unrealistic, overly ambitious to-do list is counter-productive. While it’s great to be ambitious, it’s not so great to overexert and overwhelm yourself. Only you know what you are capable of achieving during your allocated working hours, so be realistic and write out a functional to-do list. After all, small achievable goals are crucial steps towards successfully completing big projects. A good idea is to prioritise 2-3 big tasks on your to-do list each day. Take the time to complete them before moving onto minor tasks.
3. Measure your results, not your time
One of the best ways to work smarter is to adjust the way you measure your productivity. Instead of focusing on the time it has taken you to complete a task, focus on what you have actually accomplished. Perhaps it took you three hours to write an article, which could be considered as quite a large portion of your day.
However, when you break it down into sections, you accomplished quite a lot. You wrote a 200 word introduction, followed by five 300 word paragraphs. You proofread and edited the piece, formatted it correctly and added images. When you look at it like that, you could say you were incredibly productive in those three hours. Focusing on your results gives you the motivation to do the work that matters.
4. Get rid of distractions
It really goes without saying, but this is perhaps one of the most important elements to working smarter. It’s all too easy to find yourself being pulled away from your to-do list, whether it be by your inbox, your phone or otherwise. For many people, emails are a big part of their work day, and many of us fall into the habit of refreshing our inbox every half hour when we have more pressing things to be working on.
The best way to combat distractions is to allocate time-slots for them. Give yourself time-slots throughout the day where you can check your emails and your phone. By doing that, you’re not getting pulled away from an important task halfway through and losing your train of thought, you can instead give 100%.