Have you ever stopped to think about how you could do your daily tasks in an easier and faster way? You are certainly getting things done, meeting deadlines, and being productive, but can you achieve more without burning out?
You shouldn’t waste your energy on doing tasks that can be simplified with the help of organizing your time better, or maybe automating them entirely if possible. Working smart can help you optimize the time you spend on your daily responsibilities.
Working smarter helps you be more efficient, save more energy, and rest better, as well as sets a better work-life balance boosting your motivation and reducing the risks of professional burnout.
Keep reading to find out the best tips for working smarter, not harder!
At some point in their professional journey, most people have highlighted their multitasking skills. A lot of job ads will also include the requirement for a new employee to be able to work in a fast-paced environment and be excellent at multitasking.
However, science reveals that multitasking is simply not something a human can achieve no matter how much we believe it is possible. When we think we’re successfully managing a number of tasks at the same time, we’re actually just shifting our focus from one task to another without paying attention to specifics.
Multitasking will end up using extra amounts of energy without the added efficiency. So whenever you feel like you have too many tasks on your to-do list, take a breath and start with the most urgent task, finishing one project before starting another one.
Sometimes we think that taking breaks will only slow us down and keep us from being more productive. In fact, scheduling regular breaks during our work day can actually elevate our productivity.
Our attention span wears out after a certain time of undivided attention to a certain project or task at hand. It is very important to schedule breaks and give our mind and body time to rest and reset. So make sure to plan for downtime to rest your eyes, stretch, hydrate yourself and regain the attention span needed for the next item on your to-do list.
Block your calendar for uninterrupted work time
If you are able to use a shared public calendar, let your coworkers know you’re busy during a certain time throughout the day. That means scheduling “busy” hours on your company calendar that your fellow employees can see, so they won’t bother you with requests or small talk when you’re trying to concentrate on whatever it is you are working on.
It’s great to chat with coworkers or help your boss out with a quick new task, but that may take your mind off something more important that you should be doing at the moment. Sometimes you’re deep into thought working on a project and even a knock on the door will distract you so much that you won’t be able to return back to your previous train of thought causing unnecessary anxiety. So make sure you set some time for uninterrupted focus and let your coworkers know about it.
Track your time
If you want to find out when your productivity level goes down, try tracking your time with tools like Time Doctor, which can even show you your web activity during the times your mind wanders off from your professional responsibilities.
Then you can figure out how to improve your time at work, be it by silencing certain app notifications or what sites to stay away from to not get carried away by scrolling endlessly through information not related to work.
A time-tracking tool could also help with checking other habits, like working through lunch breaks. If you see this pattern, you may need to schedule your active work time better to make sure you can actually rest during lunch break.
Ask questions right away
It’s always better to ask all the questions regarding a new project before it starts or as soon as you need the answers, rather than waiting until the last minute to specify any issues that may lead to having to redo the whole project.
Asking questions early on will help you solve any problems you may have with the task. Also, asking questions will help you save time and energy. Rather than desperately looking for answers yourself, you can ask a coworker or your manager who may already know the solutions to the issues you may encounter.
Schedule tasks based on your energy levels
The biggest investment into your productivity is trying to schedule your tasks according to your energy levels. Usually, we tend not to pay attention to how much energy we have at any given time, and thinking about scheduling tasks according to our energy level seems like an extra task of its own.
However, it will definitely improve your daily efficiency and productivity to try and figure out which part of the day you have more energy and schedule bigger tasks for that particular time, so as not to wear yourself out trying to figure out the biggest issue of the day while running low on energy.
Automate what you can
To waste less energy on repetitive tasks is to automate them. Sending out scheduled emails, posting on social media – anything that can be scheduled to be done automatically should be automated!
You can automate a bunch of different things that usually take up your time and drain you of energy, that way saving your inner reserves for more important things and reaching a better efficiency at the end of your workday.
Create a closing routine
We all have a routine at the start of our workday. So why not have a closing routine, as well? Setting up a closing routine may help you out and make you more productive the next day.
Start off with listing the most important things you need to do in the following workday, clean up your workspace, and plan out how you can comfortably and efficiently start your next day at work!
Work in 90-minute blocks
To enhance your productivity levels, consider working in 90-minute time blocks. This means scheduling your tasks in 90 to 120 minutes long stretches and taking a 20 to 30-minute break in between to let your mind rest from the project you’ve been focusing on.
Science has proved that our brain works in “basic rest-activity cycles” and the time our brain can work at an optimal level is only 90 minutes. After that, we need a break to reboot so we can concentrate again on finishing the task after taking the break.
Instead of working more hours and being anxious about the numerous tasks at hand draining your energy, start small and apply these tips to your daily work life to reach higher productivity while saving more time and energy.
Practicing working smarter not harder takes time, we are all our individual selves so what helps one may not help another, pick and choose between productivity tips that can actually help you achieve your goals and feel happier at work every day!
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