In today’s world, we are expected to do things faster and better. Being productive and efficient is the order of the day and just working hard doesn’t cut it anymore. To meet up with the demands of today, you need to work smart; smarter not harder is the message being preached now. This is why one of the best things you can do for yourself in today’s world is to learn how to work smarter not harder.
But even though this slogan is all over the place, you rarely get told how to go about it.
You know you have to work smarter, but how are you supposed to do this.
This is the big question this article will answer.
Here, you will learn some important tips on how you can work smarter.
Meaning of Working Smarter Not Harder – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
Before we go any further, you need to know what exactly it means to work smarter not harder.
“Work smarter not harder” means working in smart ways that help you to properly utilize your time and energy to improve efficiency and productivity.
When you work smart, you get to complete your tasks faster and more efficiently than when you work hard.
Working harder on the other hand requires more time and energy to achieve the same goal.
But this time, you won’t even complete the task as fast as you would when you work smart.
So, working smarter not harder helps you achieve tasks faster and more efficiently without draining your energy.
Why You Should Work Smarter Not Harder – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
There’s so much fuss about working smarter not harder.
And this is for good reasons.
Working smarter not harder comes with several benefits.
As a business owner, there are so many reasons why you should learn to work smarter.
The following are some of these reasons.
Working Smart Increases Productivity
One of the best things about working smarter is that it increases productivity.
It allows you to do more while reducing costs, time spent, and labor.
For instance, imagine you are working on your financial report and instead of using a spreadsheet, you are using a calculator.
In this case, you will be working harder, but you won’t be working smart.
And it will also take you a long time to finish up the report.
Whereas, if you had used a spreadsheet, you would have gotten the work done faster and still have time to do other things.
So, instead of wasting time on one task, working smarter increases your productivity by helping you get things done in record time.
Working Smart Saves Energy
You get to conserve energy when you work smarter not harder.
You’ll be able to manage your time such that you don’t burn up your energy.
For instance, one way to work smarter is by taking breaks as you work.
When you do this, you will recover the energy you have spent working already.
This way, you get to stay energized all through your working hours.
You will also not be completely exhausted at the end of the day because you have been conserving your energy while you worked.
Working Smart Prevents Stress – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
When you work hard, you get drained both physically and mentally.
This can then lead to stress that may have a significant negative impact on the quality of your life.
Working smart eliminates stress and leaves you with enough time to do other important things.
Working smarter not harder supports a healthy work-life balance.
You won’t always be too tired after work that you won’t be able to spend time doing things you enjoy doing and spending time with family and friends.
This means that working smart will not just reduce your stress level, but will also make you lead a happier life.
Working Smart Supports Creativity – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
As a business owner, you need to be a creative thinker.
You should be able to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions.
And working smarter not harder supports this.
How? When you have the mentality of working smarter not harder, you will always be on the lookout for smarter ways to get things done.
This mentality will make you think creatively at all times.
And the more creative you are with your thoughts, the more your creativity level increases.
Working Smart Helps You Produce High-Quality Results and Products – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
Working hard gives you a result or product at the end of the day; it does not go beyond that.
You get exactly what you had set out to get.
But it’s different when you work smart.
When you work smart, you put the power of your mind and smart tools to work.
You do not focus on just getting a result, you would strive to get a better result.
You’ll focus on other details of the problem that you otherwise won’t have thought of.
Also, since you will be getting things done in record time, you will have enough time to take care of the little details.
In the end, you’ll end up with a better result or product.
Working Smart Motivates and Keeps You Going
Working hard will wear you out.
This can demoralize you and make you less interested in what you are working on.
You will feel like giving up at several points because of how tired you are; sometimes, you may even give up.
But the opposite is the case when you work smart.
Working smart makes you do things better and faster.
It prevents you from getting as exhausted as you do when you work hard.
When you work smart, you will be motivated to keep working because you know you are doing things in the best way possible.
Working Smart Boosts Self-esteem
All the benefits you stand to enjoy from working smarter will give your self-esteem a boost.
When you get things done in record time and they are high-quality, you will feel so good about yourself.
Your outlook toward things will become positive.
You will see yourself doing things well and it’ll make you believe in your skills and abilities.
You’d stop doubting yourself and your confidence will significantly increase.
People around you would want to spend more time with you to learn a thing or two.
Read this article to learn how to increase self-esteem and success in business.
Tips On How to Work Smarter Not Harder
Below are tips on how you can work smarter to make your work more efficient.
1. Do Not Multitask
A lot of people make the mistake of multitasking whenever they have so many tasks on their plates.
They do this with the hopes of getting more things done in as little time as possible.
If this is you, then you need to stop this habit.
Contrary to what you think, you can’t focus on several tasks at the same time.
This is especially true if the tasks require brainpower.
The sad truth is multitasking will leave you confused, exhausted, and with almost the same quantity of tasks you had at the beginning.
You may feel like you have a hang of things when you multitask, but you most likely do not.
So, instead of multitasking and making things hard for yourself, do your tasks one after the other.
Focus all your attention on one task and get it done.
After you finish that, move on to the next, and then the next.
You will see you’d complete your tasks faster and less stressfully this way.
2. Wake Up Early
Waking up early means you get to start your day early too.
This head start will help you get things done in time so that you can rest.
But do not suddenly start waking up early; instead, use a gradual process.
Let’s say you normally wake up by 9 am, don’t suddenly start waking up by 6 am.
Start by waking up by 8:45 am.
Gradually take it back until you can now comfortably wake up by 6 am.
3. Do Your Harder Tasks Fast – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
Hopefully, you know to always make both weekly and daily plans.
If you don’t, then you have to start planning your weeks and days.
Planning is a great way to prioritize your tasks and make sure you stay on track throughout the day and week.
However, do not just make a list of your tasks in no particular order.
Rather, arrange your tasks based on their size, difficulty, and importance.
Always front-load; harder and bigger tasks should come first before the other smaller, less important tasks.
This way, you get to complete the hard tasks first and then relax as your week or day progresses.
This productivity strategy makes sure you do the most important things first so that you do not put off doing it later on because you may have exhausted your energy.
4. Take Breaks
It will be a lot harder to work smarter if you are tired or distracted.
If you fail to take breaks, your brain will become tired and it will be a lot easier for you to get distracted.
So, to work smarter, you need to take breaks in between work.
When you take a break, do things to relax both your brain and body.
There are several techniques to help you take good breaks.
But one of the best methods is the Pomodoro Technique.
Pomodoro Technique – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
The Pomodoro technique helps you to stay focused when you work.
It does this by allowing you to take breaks in between work.
To do this technique, you’d have to set a specific time like say 25 minutes.
During these 25 minutes, you are to focus solely on work.
Once your 25 minutes is up, you get to take a break for 5 minutes.
Go back to work once your break time is over.
Do this process repeatedly until you complete your task.
Not only will this technique help you to eliminate distractions, but it will also give you time to rest your brain.
If you decide to use this technique, consider using a timer.
You can also use other things to time yourself instead of a timer.
For instance, if you are typing, you can choose to take a break after typing a specific number of words, say 500.
It does not matter what you use to time yourself though.
What matters is that you get enough breaks in between work.
You can also track the effectiveness of this technique to see if it works for you.
To do this, put a piece of paper beside you as you work.
Make a tick on the paper whenever you get distracted within the working minutes.
If the technique is working for you, the ticks should get fewer as you work.
5. Automate – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
In today’s technologically advanced world, automating tasks is one of the simplest things to do.
There are several productivity tools that can help you do certain tasks in minutes.
Assess your work pattern and find out those things you do repeatedly.
Then look up tools that you can use to automate these tasks.
For instance, if you do a lot of copy and paste, you can automate this routine with Zapier.
This productivity tool can help you connect several apps together so that information can be moved between them.
Similarly, TextExpander can save you the stress of typing texts you use repeatedly.
There are so many tools that can cut down your work for you.
You just need to look for them.
6. Do Not Pile Up Tasks on Your To-Do List
You may get intimidated by your to-do list when there are so many tasks on it.
You may start thinking “there is no way I can get all these done”.
Thinking this way will demoralize you and you most likely won’t complete the tasks.
So, instead of putting so much on your list and not completing them, have a short list.
A short list won’t intimidate you.
This will keep you motivated to complete all the tasks on your list.
Having a short list does not necessarily mean that’s all you will do that day.
The things on the list are just tasks that you know you have to finish up.
After you have sorted them, you can do other tasks too.
And whatever you do afterward will be a bonus.
7. Group Tasks
If you have several tasks on hand, consider grouping them based on the types.
Put similar tasks in the same group and then finish them before moving on to another group of tasks.
This is way better than moving between different work types.
You can also decide to group your tasks based on their size.
Put small tasks in the same group and knock them off your list at once.
This technique can also help you avoid distractions.
Remember the Pomodoro technique?
Yes, you can use a group of tasks as your timer.
Focus on your work until you have done all the tasks in a group, and then you can take a break before moving on to the next group.
8. Take a Nap – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
Taking a nap can help you regain lost energy and also revitalize your mind.
So, take a nap when your energy level is low.
Drinking coffee before your nap can also make you feel more energized after your nap.
If you take a power nap without drinking coffee, you may wake up feeling groggy.
But coffee will prevent this and make you feel more refreshed after your nap.
9. Do Your Tasks According to Energy Level – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
When scheduling your tasks, ensure you consider your energy levels too.
Know that how you schedule your tasks can greatly influence your productivity.
Everyone has different times when they feel the most energized.
This is because of the “circadian rhythm” which is the in-built body clock everybody has.
While some people may be most productive early in the day, some people’s productivity spikes after lunch, or even late in the evening.
If you are yet to figure out when you are most productive, then you need to find out as soon as possible.
When you know your most productive hours, then you can schedule your tasks with this knowledge in mind.
Arrange your tasks such that you get to handle the most challenging tasks during your most productive hours.
10. Listen to Music as You Work – How to Work Smarter Not Harder
If you do not need much brainpower for the task you are working on, then you can listen to music as you work.
According to research, listening to music while working can improve your performance.
Music can also help you feel less stressed as you work.
However, make sure the music you listen to matches the task you are working on.
It will be counterproductive to listen to music with narrative lyrics if you are doing a cognitive task.
The music would end up distracting you rather than helping you.
Likewise, listening to music that sounds upbeat can make your repetitive task feel less repetitive.
Conclusively, just make sure you listen to songs that won’t distract you from your task.
11. Be Eager to Learn
There are so many things to learn.
So, always be eager to learn.
Learning new things will increase your ability to work smarter.
Evaluate yourself and see where you are lacking.
Then work towards getting better in those areas.
Ensure you always stay in touch with new developments and trends.
Conclusion on How to Work Smarter Not Harder
Working smarter not harder is something every serious business owner and leader should know how to do.
And as you have seen in this article, there are so many ways to work smarter.
However, you need to avoid the pitfall of working smarter and harder.
When you start working smarter, you will have extra time at hand.
While you can do other things with this extra time, you should be careful not to overwork yourself.
You’ll be treating yourself unfairly if you keep working yourself to exhaustion even when you have completed the tasks you had set out to do.