We’ve all heard the saying “Work smarter, not harder”.
And I’m a huge fan of working more effectively.
This doesn’t mean you free up more time to add more things to your to do list.
It gives you the opportunity to free up time to do more of the things you love.
And when you make time to do the things you love, you’re happier.
And when you’re happier, you’re in a better place to serve your clients.
And when you’re clients are getting great service, THEY are happy too which usually means more business comes your way!
Here are my top three ‘no brainer’ tips for working smarter:
We live in a technological age where many of us grab our smartphones the minute we wake up.
Emails ping into our inboxes, social media updates clamour for our attention and it can feel like we’re never offline.
Focusing your time is crucial to productivity and I don’t care what anyone says, multi-tasking is NOT a good thing! In fact, according to Psychology Today, multi tasking doesn’t even exist! It’s a myth to make overly scheduled and stressed out people feel productive and efficient.
Find a ‘uninterrupted and focused time’ plan that works for you:
It might be as simple as grabbing a timer and working for 15 minutes on a specific task before doing another 15 minutes on a different task.
You might like the Pomodoro technique where you work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break, then work for another 25 minutes and take another 5 minutes break. After each fourth pomodoro you take a longer 20-30 minutes break.
Whatever way you choose to work, the most important thing is to eliminate distractions; step away from Facebook, turn your mobile to silent and ignore the inbox.
Your mind is an amazing computer but it works best when focused on one thing.
Batch tasking saves time and frustration. For example with filing you get into a particular mindset; you know where you need to be (probably standing infront of the filing cabinet) and you know what you need (a pile of papers). Once you have that pile of papers just get on with the task at hand. It’s much more effective to do half an hour a week rather than getting up from your desk every time you need to file one piece of paper as you’re likely to get distracted en route.
Some jobs that you can batch include:
Responding to emails
Writing blog posts (I write several at a time and schedule them for later in the month)
Cooking freezer meals!
Book keeping (Friday is my day for book keeping; just an hour or less gets it done each week)
Just Do It! (in two minutes)
I’ve been using this ‘rule’ for years and it’s a bit like a mantra now.
Every time you go to deal with something, ask yourself if it will take two minutes or less to complete.
If it will, DON’T defer it to another time. In the words of Nike – Just Do It!
You won’t be sorry.
If you open an email, read it, know what you need to say and it will take less than two minutes to reply, deferring it until later can take LONGER than that two minutes; so it ultimately costs you time.
Why? Because right now you’re in the zone. When you open that email again in three weeks because it’s become urgent you might need to find a piece of paper that is now at the bottom of your intray, make a call or refer to someone else. So Just Do It!
The sorts of things that can take two minutes or less include:
Responding to yes / no / let’s meet up emails
Sticking junk mail in the recycling bin
Filling in short forms (such as a signature to give your child permission to attend a school trip)
Putting things away so your desk doesn’t get cluttered
We all want more free time, so share your tips for being more productive below!