5 Tips to Work Smarter…NOT Harder

David Vigliotti, Vice President
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Like many employees, you might feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all of your work done. As a result, you may feel like you’re often behind. Coming in early, working through lunch and staying late aren’t effective long-term solutions. Instead, learn how to work smarter to accomplish more in less time. Here are five tips.

Narrow Your To-Dos

Focus on the top five things you need to accomplish each day. Creating a massive to-do list is overwhelming and inhibits productivity. Instead, write down your five most urgent, important, and challenging activities for the day. Focus on one task at a time before moving on to less critical tasks. You’ll feel more productive and less anxious.

Measure Results   

Focus more on what you get done in a day than how many hours you worked. Placing importance on your time spent working rather than what you accomplished leads to anxiety and inefficiency. When you’re tired, your brain doesn’t function well. Instead of thinking about the hours you spent working on one project and feeling anxious because it took a significant part of your day, focus on the fact that you completed many parts of the project and are closer to completing it. Keep a list of the work you complete each day. Celebrate your accomplishments.

Automate Tasks 

Reduce the number of decisions you need to make each day by automating tasks. You’ll have more energy and time to accomplish higher-level responsibilities. Since you have a limited amount of will and discipline, save it for the harder tasks. Tackle your most challenging work early in the morning, when your mind is clearer and more focused. It’ll get bogged down during the day, as you think and make more decisions.

Avoid Multitasking 

Since your brain isn’t built to multitask, focus on one activity at a time. Quickly shifting your attention from one task to another causes your brain to struggle. It takes longer to regain your focus when shifting between activities than when thinking about one at a time. Instead, finish what needs to be done now, then go on to your next task. Work in 30-minute bursts of intense focus, then take a five-minute break. After four cycles, take a 20-minute break. You’ll find yourself getting more quality work done in less time.

Prioritize Health

You need to stay healthy to perform your best work. Because stress can cause physical, emotional, and behavioral problems that can impact your energy level, wellbeing, and mental alertness, find ways to lower your stress level. Practice yoga, meditate or read a book. Exercise, play a sport or pray. Go for a run, attend a religious service, or listen to music. Stick with a routine as much as possible.

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