Often people who aren’t successful yet, or have seen some accomplishments but want to get to the next level, decide to put in more hours and more work.
They are sure that progress will happen as a result, but they really?
If you think about it, there’s nothing smart about constantly working harder and longer because it is unsustainable. At some point the positive productivity gains from working harder becomes negative productivity as the quality of the output from your business drops. Forcing you to have to invest a large amounts of time to fix the quality issues that resulted from working harder, something that any business can ill afford, particularly a home based business. There’s nothing effective about that approach.
That’s why there’s another way – the smarter way to work. It’s what highly productive and successful individuals have realized works and have taken the time to learn the principles and productivity hacks and apply them to their work or personal life.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
To get more done, you don’t need to work harder, but to do it the smart way. This means performing better, doing it for a shorter period of time, not being tired or overwhelmed in the end, and even feeling accomplished and proud of the results and thus raising your level of happiness in general.
Wouldn’t it be great to live this way? You can! Here are 5 things you can do today to work smarter and stop investing so many hours without seeing any results:
1. Choose less.
Quality is more important than quantity, especially when it comes to time management.
It’s so much better to take a look at how you’re already spending your time, identify the things that don’t bring you as much progress as you’d like, eliminate them and do more of the rest instead.
That will double your productivity in no time.
2. Stop doing unproductive activities.
There’s always enough time if you spend it right. So ‘no time’ is no excuse.
For a start, do something about your unproductive habits. These are watching TV, using social media, checking email way too often, browsing the Web purposelessly, etc.
A self-analysis of your time will is useful, Rescue Time allows you to track where you spend your time on your computer. Track everything you do for a day, even the things you do unconsciously or don’t really pay attention to, as these are the ones that are time-wasting when looking at the big picture.
Then, break the bad habits, but work on one at a time and start small. There’s no need to hurry. The biggest transformations happen over time.
3. Make smaller to-do lists.
If you want to work smarter, you’ll have to take a closer look at your to-do list.
Is everything you have on it really necessary? Can some of the tasks be delegated or automated? Are there any activities that make no difference even if you don’t do them today? What are the ones that help you move forward daily and how can you do more of them?
Think about that. Put each task into one of 4 categories:
1. Keep (essential items);
2. Eliminate (nothing necessary, you can easily go without it);
3. Automate (use the right tools);
4. Delegate (outsource).
4. Say no more often.
Working smarter, not harder goes together with saying no most of the time. Why? Because this way you can say yes to the few things that matter, and these are your priorities.
At some point on your journey to productivity you’ll realize that you just don’t have enough time to get it all done, and you’ll need to start being selective.
So you’ll often say no to new projects that seem profitable, but which just aren’t the right fit for you. You’ll say no to some people so that you can spend time with those who are most important to you. You’ll say no to any secondary activity on your calendar to make room for the productive ones.
Don’t feel bad about it. It’s how progress comes.
5. Don’t wait for the perfect time.
Last but not least, stop waiting and start taking action. Perfectionism will get you nowhere. There’s no need to plan too much or overthink, simply get to work.
So it is with new products you’ll be getting out there. It’s much better to launch sooner and make changes according to people’s feedback. A great book to read on this is the Lean Startup.
Over time, working smarter will become your norm and you’ll be amazed at how better you’re managing your time, how more of it you have for yourself, how meaningful your days are now that you’re doing only what truly matters, and how faster you’re getting things done.
If this has helped you to rethink what you have been doing, please do leave us a comment.