How to work smarter, to maximize your time, for long-term success!
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” – Thomas Edison
The term ‘work smarter’ means to compose yourself + go about your tasks with self-awareness. This self-awareness allows an individual to prioritize their own needs + build upon strengths in an intentional manner. So, working smarter not harder may be different for everyone. It is essentially figuring out your strengths/weaknesses, + building a support network around you, so that our goals can be reached in the quickest + most efficient way possible. After much introspection + research comparables, we devised tips on how to not only work smarter, but become a highly successful + ultra productive human. So as Edison says, time is a precious capital; we won’t waste any time more getting right down to it!
Ultra-productive people don’t ask, “How can I do this task?” Instead, they ask, “How can this task get done?” They take the ‘I’ out of it as much as possible. Ultra-productive people don’t have control issues, and they are not micro-managers. In many cases, good enough is, well, good enough.
I remember the day I surrendered my bookkeeping to my accountant; I felt defeated that I just couldn’t get it right on my own. I’ll never forget the words he spoke to me “Allison, I can’t take good pictures so I would hire someone.” Those words resignated in me. Right there I understood, finally. Delegating doesn’t mean I am less. It means I can do more. Now I delegate as much and whenever I can. Allison, Photographer/Ladypreneur Creator
Touch Things Only Once
Just think how many times we open the same email or move that bill from one side of the desk to the other. Most entrepreneurs deal with it right then. It reduces clutter both in the mind and in the workspace. Having to only evaluate + act on something once makes for an overall more efficient work day.
Start Early + Have a Routine
When we don’t have a plan for how we will start our day, we may end up procrastinating + waste time in the mornings. Highly successful people start each day the same. Their day usually began VERY early and included exercise, light reading, meditation, and/or journaling. They don’t skip meals, breaks, or sleep. Each is seen as fuel for their active lifestyle.
Tackle The Toughest Tasks First Thing
These are the biggest and potentially most time consuming tasks for the day that need to get done. The ones that will keep us in the office past the time we planned to leave, or working after dinner if we don’t get through them. Starting off the day with these on the to-do list will help us immediately dive into our day. Then move onto the more minor tasks then onto the less critical mindless tasks.
Live by your calendar + not the to-do lists
Busy entrepreneurs that were asked about working smarter not harder put everything on their calendar; to-do lists don’t set a limit on when things can + should get done. The most ultra productive people put everything on their calendar and then they live by it. Filling out our calendar, whether it is at the start of the week or day by day, also can help us relax and sleep better, avoiding what’s known as the Zeigarnik effect. So lets map out our week-at-a-glance (whether it is the start of the week or the night before) or our monthly calendar, + as projects are finished or are placed on our desk we constantly adjust according to priority + how tough the task is.
A to do list is great, but unless I have a deadline, I’m procrastinating. + I know that about myself.
Measure Results + Not Time
What do you do in your down time? While waiting for the laundry to stop or next project to download, continue moving along. Don’t ‘kill time’; it is too precious!
Know When To Call It Quits
Take it from Hemingway: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck.”
Be firm with the work cut-off time. Yes we know, there is always more that can be done, that always should be done. But honestly, highly successful people know what they value in life. Yes, work, but also what else they value. They are just as dedicated in all aspects of their lives. Walking away at times feels impossible but remember Hemingway’s quote, they really are words to live by.
Don’t Juggle, Balance
Lastly, re-evaluate how you perceive your daily activities. Juggling is the trick of keeping all the balls in the air at once; balancing is carefully considering the elements of your day + arranging them in such a way that everything is composed harmoniously. Juggling has an element of potential disaster in its’ activity, while balancing may just require some shifting. By simply changing the vocabulary of your life, your perception may become more clear.
I felt this pressure to keep all my projects in the air, making me feel scared I was always going to drop a ball. By simply changing a controlling metaphor for my life, I have gained a sense of peace.