There’s a very popular catchphrase in the business world which says ‘work smarter, not harder’. But most people who dispense this advice shed very little light on how you should actually go about it, how you can implement it and how it will actually benefit your career.
It may disagree with traditional beliefs but working harder may not actually make you a better employee. In certain ways, it is less about the number of hours that you log at your desk and more about what you do while you are at it. The quality of your work clearly takes precedence over the volume of work you can handle.
Following are certain ideas that you can apply to your work schedule that can help you to work smarter and more effectively:
Wake Up Early
The thought of waking up early fills us with dread. But it is a part of ancient wisdom and one that shouldn’t be disputed without giving a try. Many experts believe that we are better positioned for achieving success in our careers if we start the day early. Biologically we are much more proactive in the morning than what we are during the later hours of the day.
It gives you a head start for the day and also a few extra hours to plan for the day ahead of you. The extra time that you have at your disposal sets you at ease and you no longer have to rush through everything. It helps you to keep calm and also stay productive throughout the day.
If there are any mundane tasks that you are required to do, you can steer clear of it first thing in the morning and once it is out of the way you can focus on the other important tasks without any distractions.
Make a Commitment to Learning
The only way you can work smarter is by becoming smarter. And the only way to become smarter is to learn more. If you commit to continuous learning it should help you to stay up-to date with the knowledge that your profession expects of you. It helps you to come up with different ways of approaching a problem and arms you with the knowledge that is necessary to tackle the problem statement at hand.
Another advantage of being interested in learning more is that you remain passionate about what you do. How can a person work smartly and adapt quickly if they detest their job?
Keep a Journal
Ever had those moments when you thought of something brilliant, thought you would remember it forever but forgot it the very next day? This is exactly what happens when you do not note down your ideas. Each time you let a good idea slip away it is a tremendous loss.
You can put an end to this by making a business journal. In this book you can make some notes about what happened in your working day and what your thoughts were on the matter. You can also take note of ideas, business gains and the progress you made towards your goals.
You can also include personal entries such as what went wrong and what went right, how motivated you felt throughout the day and what were the things that you did besides work. From your personal entries you will gain valuable insights about your performance.
For instance, if you notice that on the days when you work out in the morning you are able to deliver a better performance at work then you should make it a point to include daily workout in your schedule.
Make Time off a Priority
A common misconception that most working professionals harbour is that working for longer hours is a trait of a successful employee or entrepreneur. You may also find articles on the internet that glorify leaders who haven’t taken a single vacation in ‘x’ number of years. It probably just highlights how dull their lives are. Working without vacations and for longer hours certainly doesn’t mean the quality of work is better.
Taking some time off is extremely essential to remain productive at work. When you overwork you’re simply loosening the bolts on your wheels and waiting for it to fall out. Corporate days out is one such concept which should be practised in offices around the globe to give a boost to the productivity of employees.
After all, if you’re not being productive for every single minute that you spend at your desk why should you even be sitting there?