Work Is important, but so is your sanity
In our home, we preach work smarter AND work harder. My parents are some of the hardest working people I have ever met. My dad is turning 70 this year and he can still out work most people half his age. It’s incredible. As their child, I can only aspire to one day reach that level of hard work, self -discipline and consistency.
While I am an extreme advocate of hard work, I also believe in working smarter. Whether you are balancing a family life, or you are balancing the school and extra curriculum life, you need to find a system that is efficient. I feel like this is something that is not looked at closely enough.
What routine/system can we put together for ourselves to help us produce results and at the same time provide sustainability? The longer we can sustain something over time, the more results we have to work with. We can really see what our work is made of. Is it trash? Or, is it something that is worth the time being invested?
Here are 10 Productivity Tips To Work Smarter & Harder:
Make A Weekly Plan
Let’s take this to your occupation really quick (if you are employed), just to make a quick point. You have top corporations that people work for, these corporations spend big bucks on structuring their company and figuring out new ways to exceed last weeks numbers and increase productivity.
What does everyone’s job have in common?
Each week, is another run at the quota in some shape or form. This requires planning, it demands an organized structured plan where, if you follow it correctly, you can achieve some big results. Hold this weekly plan over time and in one year you can build something rather extraordinary, if you put your mind to it.
Take time to create your plan. Take your mind to the finish line and examine what that looks like. What does the end game look like for you? Then just run it backwards and try to do your best to identify key steps that are going to be required in order to get to that finish line. Once you have done that, break those key areas down into micro steps and every single day, you do the best you can to execute.
Stick To Your Routine
If you are reading this right now and you don’t have a routine in place for yourself, I want for you to grab a piece of paper and write down “create a routine for myself” and put that piece of paper somewhere that you can see it daily. Your mission, should be to create a routine for yourself and then each day work at sticking as close to that routine as possible. Everyday.
Now that you have done yourself the favor of doing that, we can move onto the point of why sticking to your routine is important and healthy for you.
When you create a routine for yourself, you are adding habits to your morning, to your evening, which over time (if executed consistently), will help you to improve drastically.
Routine adds structure to your day. Routine is to your day, what a strong foundation is to a house. You know, that if you build a house on top of a false bottom, you are going to have some serious issues down the line. If you build a house on top of a strong, leveled foundation, that house can sit perfectly with no issues, for quite some time.
If you are adding the right habits into your routine, each day that you wake up is going to be a day of work. When I say work, I mean it is going to require your best effort to stick to the plan. It’s the perfect example of working smarter AND harder. Don’t be afraid of hard work and putting yourself into uncomfortable situations.
Sharpen Your Organization Skills
I believe organization is a key skill that if mastered, it can really add some serious value to your life. Being an organized person is not some genetic DNA mutation strain that gets passed down. So many people “want” to be organized, but see it as impossible. They admire an organized person, and would love to be considered “organized” but “they just don’t have it.” Don’t fall into this trap. Being organized is like everything else worth having in life, it takes work.
Organization is not some freak of nature super power. It’s something that can be developed if you are willing to put in the self-discipline. Being organized is another perfect example of working smarter and harder.
Keeping your space and tools organized, increases your efficiency. You can have a clear mind which helps you to be more creative, more focused and productive. However, it requires work to be organized. You have to put things back where they belong after you are done using them and you have to put in time to pick up your area frequently enough to maintain a high level of organization. The key is to know where everything is and have it easily accessible when you need it.
Don’t Multi-Task If You Can’t
Multitasking is seen as a great skill and it has this connotation where you can get more done in less time. I prefer to work harder AND smarter vs. working smarter and not harder. If you aren’t willing to go the extra mile and work harder then you should look for a new line of education, work, or hobby.
If you can multi-task like a boss (which I’ve seen it done), then by all means continue to work your magic. I on the other hand, cannot pull of multi-tasking properly. In fact, I end up taking twice as long to complete both things. I learned this rather quickly and decided to focus on one thing at a time.
Focusing on one thing at a time allows for me to put all of my brain power into that one thing. This has great benefits because I have found that my mind is extremely powerful and if I can work without distractions and put all of my brain power into achieving one thing at a time, I find that I can be very successful.
Prioritize Your Work
When you are looking at a list of things that need to get done, it is important that you prioritize your work immediately. Your first thought should be, “which is most important to me?” No matter if this is the hardest one, or the most difficult, this is where you start.
Taking time to prioritize your work is an important step to productivity and getting more things done. You need to be aware of which tasks carry the most weight on your shoulders. Once you can identify those key tasks, then you move directly into putting in the hard work and getting those things done first.
I have heard and seen a lot of people saying that they prefer to leave the harder tasks for the end and work on the small simple tasks first. If this is what your approach looks like, I would suggest flipping it. Why?
Studies have shown, that we have the most brain power earliest in the morning. Our mind is fresh, we are coming out of 6-8 hours of sleep and rest (hopefully), and our brain power capacity is at full load. You want to take advantage of this and execute on your most difficult tasks. This leaves you with the small and simpler tasks towards the end of your day when you may find your self running at a lower speed.
Measure Results & Time Invested
Every job that I have ever had required me to clock in at a certain time and clock out (measuring and tracking my time). Additionally, they tracked my results each day, each week, each month and each year.
Why do companies do this?
To see if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Simple.
Are you worth the money that they are paying you? Are you doing your job?
If multi million/billion dollar companies are using this type of approach to achieve their goals, I think it can be wise to adopt and follow through with the same approach.
If you have a side hustle that you are working on, if you run your own business, if you are in high-school or college—you should be measuring your results and the time you are spending working on these things.
Tracking time and results will light a 🔥 up under you. It gives you some pretty hard truths. If you are working smarter and harder then maybe those hard truths are looking pretty good for your right about now. If not, start adopting this process.
Take Regular Breaks
If you’re anything like me, you feel like 💩 when you take a break. You feel like you should be working or doing something productive. But, it’s important to take regular breaks. I can sit for hours focusing on one thing, whether that is writing, reading, working, but I need to take breaks. I need to bring my mind to a point of distraction almost, in order to bring myself back to a place of clarity to continue working.
The mind needs a break and depending person to person, these break times and durations is going to vary greatly. Which is why I believe it’s super important to experiment with things and pay attention. In doing so, with time, you can learn what really works for you and what doesn’t. Once you find that sweet spot for your break times, this can help protect your sanity on the difficult of days and sustain your focus.
Finish What You Start
When you bite into something, you need to take it all the way. You shouldn’t care what gets in your way, it shouldn’t matter where your mind goes, there is no taking you away from your goals.
This is how you have to see things if you want to be successful at it. The things deep down inside your heart that you want to achieve for yourself and for those who you love most, those things are going to challenge you to your core. You need to finish anyway.
Before you take something new on, ask yourself — “Can I see myself finishing this if I start it?” If your answer is no, then proceed with a question like — “why not?” Questions like these, should provide you some really good insight as to what you need to work on in order to start finishing everything you start.
Automate As Much As You Can
This one can be quite useful depending on how much you can automate of course. Depending what it is you are working towards, there are some things you can automate and use that time to your advantage.
With today’s technology, there are many brilliant applications that can help you automate you daily tasks. Look into a good email application such as Outlook or Gmail, where you can create folders, appointment reminders, deadlines, schedule breaks, and set up automated replies to people who send you emails or text messages while you are in working-mode.
Go into your phone settings and set up news application notifications so the news and important information can come to you. This helps and eliminates the need to go searching for what important information you may need. By automating as much as you can, you improve your efficiency and allow more free time to other high priority tasks.
Turn Off Your Phone
This of course applies differently from person to person. Some people need their phones for work and productivity, and other people simply refuse to turn their phone off for a period of time or let it go.
If you are willing to have a growth mindset and try new things, then the next time you are working on a high priority task, turn your phone off. Don’t do the whole airplane mode tactic (where you keep your phone on and just put it on airplane mode) it’s not the same. You want your phone to become useless, therefore, the distraction is now eliminated. Unless you need it to hold some papers down so they don’t fly away with the wind of your ceiling fan, then there is no need to even look at it.
The whole concept of working smarter and not harder is a saying that many people today still quote. I get it, it’s about improving efficiency and not having to over exert yourself if you don’t have to. Makes total sense..
I think people are scared of hard work already. When you add a disclaimer that the process requires “hard work”, a lot of people will move the opposite direction. The better way to look at it, is to work smarter AND harder. The harder you work, the better you get.
Run towards both, I say.