Five Tips for Working Smarter—Not Harder

It makes sense that if you want to get more work done, you simply have to work more. That isn’t the case. Many people spend countless hours at work and come home at the end of the night feeling like they spent the entire day spinning their wheels.

Instead, you should focus on working smarter instead of harder, but what exactly does that mean? Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the time you’re already spending at work.

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Give up on Multitasking

If you’re feeling swamped with a seemingly endless to-do list, you will probably be tempted to see if you can get more than one thing done at a time. Although multitasking seems like a good solution, studies suggest only about two percent of the entire population is actually good at it. In addition, multitasking can be harmful!

Instead of multitasking like you think you are, you are actually task-switching, which ends up taking more time than if you just focused on one thing at a time.

Choose what you want to work on and focus on that one thing until you’re ready to move onto the next thing. You’ll save time that can add up at the end of the day!

Don’t Let Your Email Rule Your Life

According to a survey by Adobe, the average person spends more than five hours each day checking their email. Can you believe that! Unless your job is checking and responding to email, that’s an insane amount of time to spend doing one task when there are so many other things to do.

If you’re tired of spending so much time on email, it’s time to get serious about managing your inbox instead of letting it manage you. A few tips include:

  • Turn off notifications so they don’t distract you while you’re working
  • Plan specific times to check your email and stick to your schedule
  • Create canned responses to common messages to save time
  • Remove yourself from email lists that aren’t serving you

It might be a good idea to inform coworkers of your new email rules. That way, they aren’t wondering why they haven’t heard from you when normally they would have received an immediate response.

Control Your Environment

Distractions in the workplace can definitely suck up your time. Do yourself a favor and put your phone on silent, don’t leave the Facebook tab open on your desktop, and turn off that podcast when you need to focus on an important project.

Avoiding distractions also means controlling your environment. Although it may seem like you don’t have a lot of control over where you work, especially if you work in an open plan office, there are things you can do to create an environment that will help you focus.

Don’t be afraid to put on a pair of headphones without playing any music just to demonstrate to coworkers that you shouldn’t be disturbed. Don’t shy away from hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign in your cubicle either to keep chatty coworkers at bay.

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

It isn’t uncommon to make it to the end of the day and realize that you’ve forgotten to do something important, or you glance at the clock and realize it’s time to go home but you haven’t checked your email yet.

Do yourself a favor and create a schedule. Then, stick to it.

Your schedule should include all of the tasks you need to prioritize to ensure they get done before it’s time to go home. It might include blocking out certain times to check email, and it might mean scheduling important calls instead of taking them whenever your phone rings. Scheduling your day this way will ensure you squeeze the most out of every minute.

Learn Computer Tricks to Make Your Life Easier

An extra second here and an extra second there can really add up, and before you know it, you’ve run out of time at the end of the day to finish and important task.

Take back your day one second at a time by learning a few computer tricks. From using keyboard shortcuts to using apps to enhance your typing skills, there are things you can do to help you save time when working on the computer.

Don’t think you have to stay late at the office because there’s so much work to do! Look for ways to work smarter instead of harder and you’ll enjoy a much better work-life balance.

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