It seems to me that the last couple of years have been all about the grind.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson famously works out twice before we even wake up. Elon Musk sleeps on a couch in his office. Everyone is either working hard or telling everyone else to work hard.
But what about working smart? What about becoming more efficient? Getting more done in less time. Isn’t that something worth looking into?
Well, lucky you, here are twenty ideas to help you work smarter, not just harder.
- Wake up early: yes, it makes you a lot more productive. Just try it. Wake up at five in the morning and see the difference, as opposed to waking up at nine AM.
- Start the day by doing what you don’t want to do: if you handle the toughest tasks first when your mind is fresh, you’ll get them done quicker and have the rest of the day to do other, more enjoyable tasks.
- Don’t confuse being busy with being productive: stop and ask yourself if what you’re working on is worth the effort. There’s a big difference between action and movement. Action requires a goal, a clear purpose, and a path to follow. Sitting in a rocking chair means quite a bit of movement, but you’re not going anywhere.
- Do not fear perfection: perfectionism is the enemy of completion.
- Eliminate all distractions: if you cannot focus on what you have do to, you will be struggling to get the job done. I have found that cutting out all distractions for a set time is one of the most effective ways to get things done in less time.
- Plan your day: 10 minutes of dedicated time planning each evening will save a lot of time during the next day.
- Productively use waiting time: waiting time does not have to be wasted time. When you are in the subway or bus, or waiting at the doctor’s office, ask yourself what tasks could you complete while you wait? What about reading and answering to e-mails? Hmm…
- Stop mindlessly browsing scrolling through social media: web browsing, scrolling through Instagram, all of these are literal black holes when it comes to time management. Without even realizing it, you have wasted several hours of your time.
- Exercise daily: this, on the other hand, is not wasted time. Exercise has been shown to boost cognitive function, creativity, problem solving, and productivity. Exercise literally makes you smarter.
- Learn to say NO: you’re only given a certain amount of hours every day; do you really want to give them away so easily? If it’s not making you a better person, earning you money, or teaching you something, it’s probably a waste of time.
- One task at a time: multitask may sound like a time-saver, but it’s not as efficient as doing one task at a time.
- Tell other people and hold yourself accountable: I’m all for telling folks what you’re working on; it motivates you to get stuff done. People who have a support system almost always find it easier to make things happen.
- Practice the 80/20 rule: the 80/20 Rule states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our actual work, and conversely, that we waste much of our energy doing things that aren’t truly productive. Figure out what that 20% is comprised of and focus as much of your energy as you can on it.
- Organize your time in 15 minutes increments: this allows you to accurately assess how much time you’re wasting, how much time is needed to get something done.=
- Actions before everything else: in the end, all the tips in the world won’t make you productive if you do not decide to do the things that need to get done. Don’t waste another minute! Start now.
What are some of your tips to being more productive? Let’s talk in the comments section.