32 Hacks To Work Smarter Not Harder!
Are you struggling with working infinite amounts of hours and almost feeling like a zombie?
Are you feeling that you have given everything you got and yet you’re not given the results you’ve expected?
Have you spent all day on working and actually nothing important wes made towards your tasks?
Are you about to give up now?
Don’t you worry!
You’re not the only only having such problems. Let me show you tips on how to overcome your troubles.
The biggest influence on your performance has your strategy.
What if you did a task 5 times faster but it wouldn’t provide the outcome you are after?
You would just waste your time and energy.
Don’t do it. Start with right strategy so that you know you are getting closer to your goal each day.
1. Plan Your Goals
Everybody says that goal setting is important in order to get what you want in life. But only approximately 80% of people actually plan their goals.
You should specify what you aim for and set specific steps that will help you achieve this.
You must know your outcome and declare it very clearly.
Write it down in your notebook. RIGHT NOW!
2. Plan Your Day
You promised to yourself that you will spend all day on working and in fact you just accomplished a couple of meaningless tasks?
And then you finish your day feeling guilty. What’s more you didn’t spend time with your family nor friends.
However there were days when you spent only 3 hours on working on certain projects because you had an important meeting and you successfully completed your task.
That’s why you have to carefully plan your whole day.
Reconciliation of work and private life is not that easy as it seems, especially when you truly want to achieve something bigger or radically change your lifestyle.
If you are working and when you are back home you work again you want to give it 100%, sometimes there is not enough space to place your social life or private life. (i.e. relationship)
What’s more you are not productive.
WATCH YOUR WORKING HOURS
Plan them right so that you will not spend all day on inefficient work.
If yours are already set by someone else, then when you go home stop thinking about your job and stop feeling guilty about it. Just let it go. Concentrate during your working hours and you will be fine.
However if you are self-employed set yourself blocks of time when you work. That’s the best way to achieve the best results.
The same applies to students. Set yourself time for study and after certain hour you give yourself a rest.
CHOOSE YOUR PEAK HOURS
It’s the time when your focus is on the highest level. For most of people it is after you waking up.
However there are also people that are more focused and productive at night.
Try both and decide when you work better.
If you know right balance between your work and family/friends/hobby/other stuff AND you know your peak hours then you are able to plan your day right.
3. Divide Big Tasks Into Small Ones
Dividing problems is one of first things that IT programmers are learning. Instead of fighting with one big problem try to divide it to small, easier problems. Not only will it make it easier but also will speed up your work because you will be able to focus on important things and you will more quickly find a solution for problems.
So when you are working on a big project divide it into small pieces.
Let’s say it is a blogpost to write. It may seem to be a big deal. A whole blogpost.
When you divide it into writing an intro, few key solutions to a problem and ending it is not that big anymore. (it is very simplified because actually there are a lot more steps in order to create a good blogpost).
When you got your task already divided into small ones you can focus on one at the moment and do it very efficiently.
4. Decide Which Part of Your Work Can Be Outsourced
You can’t do all the things by your own….
Even if you could you would be unproductive and overworked.
You should do tasks which either you enjoy or/and you are good at. The rest should be outsourced.
As soon as you do that your income and overall happiness will go above your expectations.
5. 80/20 Rule
It’s the important rule that you cannot skip. At start you could not associate this one but let me explain:
20% of work gives us 80% profits
20% of drivers causes 80% accidents
100% of effort neves comes back as 100% of profit. This rule is important in business but meanwhile you have to take this with a pinch of salt.
The more knowledge you get, the wiser you act and the more clearly you think the work will be faster, more comfortable and less stressful. Thinking and constantly aiming for a perfect comparison of all elements of wanted field of work will let you maximally optimize your work and thanks to this you will have more time for everything!
As mentioned before, 20% of work gives you 80% of wanted results. Another example: 20% of clients bring 80% of earnings.
If you will stick to this rule it will improve the results of your work, by helping you keep focus on what is important, because most important things give you most waned results.
Identify what has biggest impact on your outcome and then focus on these things.
Remember that the key is to work smarter not harder.
6. Put Your Every Important Thoughts In Safe And Handy Place
It could be either your notebook or a some application. Choose the one which fits best for you. However you should be able to access it every day.
It has certain benefits:
- clears your mind
- helps you find important notes from past
Get Rid Of Distractions
Are these reasons enough for you to get rid of them?
Here are major tips to help you do that.
7. Prepare Your Environment Before You Start Working
Leave only the things on the desk that are needed to help you accomplish your task and get rid of everything else.
When it comes to your device, I advise you to clear your desktop as well. Otherwise you will feel disorganized and overwhelmed. Don’t let such a little thing destroy your focus and overwhelm you.
If there are too many things around you then your focus may be spread between those.
You should focus on the one thing you have to accomplish at the moment instead.
8. Block Distracting Websites
I bet you are tempted by many social media websites during your work: for example Facebook, Twitter, Reddit. You tell yourself that you’ll just check your feed in few minutes. And then… you wake up a few HOURS later. Every news on your social media was checked but none of your important tasks were made. That’s why you should make sure you won’t waste your time like that.
Even little distraction from these website can disturb your focus and lower your productivity.
There are many extensions that may help you, such as:
9. Don’t Let The Others Distrurb You While You Are Working
Tell others that you have to focus and you like to work in a quiet environment. The better is your work environment the better are your results, also, your work will be less-stressful and perhaps you will enjoy your job.
Also make sure to answer only important calls. If it is possible tell others that you are available in certain hours. Thereby you could work without being interrupted.
If there are no important cases to discuss then you can turn off your phone. Try it and you will figure it out how much it benefits you.
10. Don’t Multi-task
Focus on what is important. According to 80/20 Principle – 20% of your work gives you 80% of your results. Choose what do you want to do first – easy tasks or harder, more demanding ones. Focus and do your job as good as you possibly can and you will have great results. Focusing on one thing is always better than doing multiple things at the same time.
When you switch between tasks your brain has to adapt to it and therefore it will spend time and energy on it.
You can see the difference here:
Meditation is a state of cleansing your mind from unnecessary thoughts, also it helps you focus on your job. Meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces heart rate and slows metabolism. State of meditation also ‘refreshes’ areas in the brain that are responsible for memory, empathy and stress.
I suggest to meditate daily in the morning. It will increase your overall focus over time.
Also when you struggle to work during the day – so called blocks – just go meditate for a couple of minutes and you will be fine back to work.
Efficiency is very important when it comes to achieving the best outcome. We may know what to do but it means nothing unless we take action.
So… you probably wonder how to do things in a right way, Am I right?
Take a look on following tips then.
12. Pomodoro Technique
This technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. In this technique you have to use timer to set intervals between your work, usually after 25 minutes for concentrate work
Use it to boost your productivity and decrease amount of time you spent on working.
It is so simple technique and yet so effective.
Using this technique you can fit your 40 hour workweek into 16.7 hours.
The key is to work smarter not harder, remember?
13. Do The Things That Takes Less Than 5 Minutes Immediately
One of easiest rules that have biggest potential. “If something will take less than 5 minutes I will do it now” – it does not sound seriously but it’s an easy rule that really will improve the foundations of your schedule.
This way you will avoid procrastination of small tasks so that all of them will be done on time.
Moreover your mind won’t be full of tasks to do later on.
14. Set A Deadline
Set approximately end date of your task. Thought of failing your task is the best motivation.
Take a note in your notebook and/or one of the websites I mentioned earlier.
To take it to the next level you can ask reliable friends or coworkers to keep track on your progress so that you won’t delay your deadline.
15. Free Up Your Time During The Day
Finding time is one of the biggest challenges in your life. Therefore you need tips on how to find time to do necessary things.
Good time management is the thing that builds up your whole work system and allows you to carefully plan things, set deadlines and work as much as you possibly can with the best results.
Track what you spent your time on during the day. There are some helpful applications to do that if you spent your time on internet such as:
However if you spent more time offline then you should somehow write down what you are really doing for your whole day. Then you could analyse it, make corrections and therefore save your time.
Get rid of all the things that suck energy from you – for example reading too much news. Give up watching TV or at least limit it to maximum 1 hour daily.
16. Use Habits To Automate The Process
Did you think that all the successful people are ultra-motivated to do all the tough stuff daily? Let me make this clear – they aren’t.
They just have made right HABITS.
We all are made up by habits. Take a look around you.
I also create certain circumstances when I work, for example I listen to music destined for my work and I drink tea.
17.Work in blocks of time
It is much easier to focus when you work for long periods of time with 5-15 minutes of break.
So pick your peak hours and then try to persist in doing what you have to do. It may seem to be a little bit difficult at the beginning but after you start you just keep going.
With pomodoro method I mentioned earlier it is much easier because those time blocks will be shorter and therefore you will be more focused and optimistic about your work.
Take Care Of Your Energy Levels
Energy management matters more than time management. That’s why you should also take care of your energy levels throughout the day.
Don’t underestimate none of these tips.
18. Good Sleep
Sleep is a cyclic loss of consciousness that helps our body and mind rest before facing challenges of the next day. While sleeping our organism renews cells, increase hormones production and just helps us rest.
Right amount of sleep lets us to optimally work and use full capabilities of our mind and body.
Minimal amount of sleep is individual case but no matter what – you can’t go below 5 hours. Some need 6 hours to work optimally but others need at least 9 or they just can’t think clearly.
Although there is a lot of specifics that help us work better with less amount of sleep but we shouldn’t abuse them. Coffee, pills with guarana and vitamins – they are useful but we have to use them wisely.
Best solution is to keep a bit bigger amount of sleep that we need to work properly and use some diet supplements that will help our organism work better. Yerba mate and stuff like guarana in pills in reasonable amount are really helpful and can improve your day, making you more active, less stressful and you will think and react faster.
Also make sure that you have time for yourself to relax before you go sleep.
Reducing stress and minimalizing electronics usage before bed can really improve quality of your sleep.
19. Take care of your diet
Lot of people think that diet is something connected with only limitations and pain.
They think that healthy food has to be tasteless.
That’s a lie!
You can create many tasty recipes that are at the same time healthy.
You should take a look at some fit recipes on instagram.
Don’t forget about drinking lot of water instead of drinks.
Without water a human can survive for max 7 days. Water keeps our organism concentrated and gives you energy. Yeah! Human’s brain is build from water in 85%, dehydration may decrease your focus a lot. By analysis of some researches well hydrated organisms can work better than organisms that work on caffeine!
Recommended drinking: At least 8 glasses of water daily.
Right series of breathing can be gamechanging.
When you need to relax or gain some energy try this:
- Take a comfortable sit
- Take a breath through your abdominal belly for 5 seconds
- Hold it for 5 seconds
- Exhaust this air slowly for 5 seconds
- Wait 5 seconds
21. Drink Coffee or Yerba Mate
One shot of Caffeine can be healthy for your life. Nevertheless if you just like coffee – do not hesitate to drink 2 cups a day.
Caffeine can really boost your energy but remember to not overdo it.
However I’d personally prefer drinking Yerba Mate. It has similar influence on us.
Avoid energy drinks unless you want to destroy your health.
You may be thinking “I don’t have time to work-out”.
If so, you have never been more mistaken.
There are many case studies out there on this topic. There are plenty of people out there that increased overall energy just by working out and thereby their productivity has also raised much.
Start small but increase your effort in each successive workout.
If you REALLY don’t have even 45 minutes for working out there are is a way around this.
That’s called tabata:
There is no excuse for you now!
23. Schedule time for yourself
Don’t forget that you are a human being and as a human you have to rest, physically and mentally. If it’s sunday and you want to – invite your best friend, drink one beer and watch a TV.
You may be thinking that it’s the waste of time…
BUT IT’S NOT!
You need to charge your batteries.
There’s no excuse. You need to find time for yourself.
When you schedule your day, remember to put something you like doing on the calendar.
It will really boost your motivation and therefore productivity during work time.
24. Don’t Sit In The Same Place For Long Periods Of Time
Being in the same environment for long hours may exhaust your brain.
Sometimes you need to change the place to let your brain relax.
Remember when in the past you bumped into that awesome idea? You couldn’t find solution earlier but then you go to shower/ go for a walk/ go meet some friends… And finally you got this awesome idea.
That’s why the pomodoro technique I mentioned earlier is great. It lets your brain relax.
Minimal amount of sleep is 5 hours – as mentioned before do not cross this border. You NEED a rest and you won’t change it.
Rest is a part of working. If you don’t get it now, I bet you will understand it soon enough.
Working for a whole day would be a disaster to you for many reasons:
- being less focused thereby less productive
- affecting your health
- affecting your relationships
- closing to burnout or depression
That’s why you need to set yourself time to relax during the day.
Pomodoro technique will take care of limiting your working hours so remember to stick with it.
Psychology has influence on many aspects in our lives including work.
Do you think that when you have no motivation and you feel weak and bored you produce better results?
Of course not!
That is why you need to master your emotions.
26. Perfection Is An Enemy Of Success
That statement can save you a lot of effort.
Remember that no one is perfect.
Especially when you do a task for the first time. Don’t expect it to be flawless.
More accurate would be “expect your first draft to be shitty”.
Of course always do your best but remember that your performance will significantly increase. Just as it happens when you go for the first time to the gym and your muscles are not adapted to training yet.
27. Believe You Can Do It
If you will start with thoughts like “No, I won’t do this” or “I will fail, I’m sure” you will never achieve success. Positive thinking is really important, believe you can achieve this, motivate yourself and keep going forward.
What is more you NEED to feel UNSTOPPABLE.
Remember action movies or even some anime from your childhood when the main hero thinks that he can’t do really much…
He realizes what would happen if he fails.
He knows that he can’t let this happen and then he excess his own expectations.
You gotta do the same.
Look at your goals, watch some motivational videos and fill up with possitive emotions.
28. Do The Things You Are Passionate About
It is much easier to do the stuff you like.
That’s why starting your own business is great. You have freedom to choose what you do to earn money.
If you can afford it do only the tasks you are passioned about and outsource everything else.
However, if you can’t then try to find your tasks interesting. It depends on your point of view.
At first your field of work may seem boring, but it also may change after you gain some basic knowledge.
29. Celebrate After Achieving
Create a self-reward system – it will create a specific type of motivation – you are focusing on the reward itself, not on the task. You are giving 100% of yourself, you are going forward and the reward is strength that pushes you on.
It is very important however many entrepreneurs (including me in past) forget about it or don’r realize the power behind this.
It could be as small as buying yourself a new book or going to the cinema after reaching some major goal. But remember not to overdo it.
It is about celebrating so it depends on your attitude. Fit your rewards into your budget. You know what you can afford and what you can’t.
30. Turn On The Music
Listening to music can really help.
- increase your focus
- motivate you
However choose your music wisely.
- I’d prefer to listen to music without vocals such as instrumental or meditating music while I am working on something that requires focus.
- If I need 100% focus I use apps such as SimplyNoise, SimplyRain or I turn everything off.
- If my current task doesn’t require much focus I may afford to play my favourite band that makes me more lively.
Test these and figure out which one works best for you and create some good playlists!
31. Drink Tea During Work
I find drinking tea during the work very entertaining. It helps me stay motivated.
It also puts me into a focused state. It makes the time of my work a lot better for me.
But this is my personal tip.
32. JUST START!
The biggest and the most important hack of them all is just to start. If you don’t start, then you won’t fail but also, you won’t achieve anything.
So keep going forward, don’t be afraid of failure and never give up!
Now you just need to learn these hacks by implementing them in your life one by one.
And what are your Work Smarter Not Harder Hacks?
Let me know in the comment section below!
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