How To...Work Smarter
How To…Work Smarter
We live in a culture where we work way harder than we have to and begin to burn ourselves out. Then when we reach the “burnout” stage it catches us by complete surprise and we rarely give ourselves permission to rest or recover. With the demands that we tend to place on ourselves the undue stress and anxiety is going to lead to extreme mental, emotional, and physical health issues. I know we are working hard, that’s not really my question. But I want us all to work a little bit smarter to ensure we’re able to work smarter and still get the results we’re seeking!
1. Get organized
I have always been an organized person so for so long I imagined that it was a normal skill set and almost a given. As I’ve continued to grow professionally and as a Development Coach I have learned that it’s not necessarily a given. As I begin to ask people why they aren’t organized it’s one of two common reasons: they don’t have time or they don’t know how. If your issue is that you don’t have time to get organized I want you to understand that you will be saving time in the long run because you’ll be able to increase your productivity levels.
If your concern is that you don’t know how…understand it is a work in progress because you have to find what works for you. Be committed to trying different organizational techniques and resources in order to find that out. When you find yourself receptive to a particular method you can begin to expand upon that along the way. Some helpful suggestions to try include planners (physical or on your phone), planning out your days hour by hour, to-do lists, and I’m sure there are plenty of others. Find what works for you!
2. Empower your people
This particular note is for managers or people in leadership positions, but you might be able to gain some insight so read anyway! My coworker taught me this lesson and when I began to apply the lesson to my area of responsibility I began to immediately see results. What he said to me was the more you’re able to get your people engaged and proud of their work…the less you have to do! And this was proven to be true when I spent a very high pressured day with very little stress because my team eagerly ensured everything was under control. The more I teach them to be self-efficient and help them understand their roles, the less I have to do myself and I can focus more on my roles and responsibilities (without having to do theirs).
3. Plan your day(s)
This may sound like a very simple thing…but it’s highly underestimated. When you have a very hectic schedule with a lot on your plate, you have to be strategic about what you’re going to do with your time. One of the most helpful things I’ve began doing was planning my day by the hour to ensure that all of my tasks fit into my day in a realistic way. Even if you don’t want to plan them by the hour, come up with a game plan to ensure that you’re clear about the goals for the given day. Even if it’s simply a lists of action items for the day…have some sort of plan for what you want to accomplish for that day!
4. Use your resources
So many of us are working harder than necessary by trying to recreate the wheel and often times we’re doing it incorrectly or it’s taking longer than it should. If there is something you’re trying to accomplish use the resources that are available to you in that moment. If you’re not sure what resources are available…google knows. It sounds simple but I’ve very serious because we live in a world where there’s an app for absolutely everything! In addition to the technological resources that are available, there are also people resources around you who can help you accomplish what you’re trying to do! If you need help…ASK FOR HELP!
It may sound incredibly odd for “rest” to be included in a blog entitled How To…Work Smarter, but I promise you it’s an important part of the process. When we feel rested we are more productive and more likely to work harder to achieve our next rest period quicker. If I know that after I complete this task a nap is coming, I’m more likely to ensure the task is done quickly and efficiently. Think about the last time you felt burned out…how productive were the tasks you were completing? I’m not saying you should always be resting but what I am saying is that you shouldn’t work so tirelessly that you become unproductive.