How Top Professionals Work Smart, Not Hard

You must have often come across the phrase, work smart not hard. Most of us are hard workers. We spend a major part of our lives stuck away in our offices and completing task after task. But does this always lead us towards success?

Working hard can surely help us get our work done but working smart can lead us closer to our goals.

Working smart can be defined as the process of finding the most efficient and effective way to achieve your goals. This involves leveraging resources as well as other people, delegating tasks appropriately and becoming self-aware about your working style. Self-awareness is the key to finding better ways to work smarter and achieve your goals while enjoying the benefits of a perfect work-life balance.

To help you work smarter, we have put together a few tips and tricks you can incorporate to your working style. These changes can help you finish work more efficiently and derive the desired outcome.

Do less, obsess more

Most successful people have the habit of taking up a few tasks everyday and doing them really well. They obsess over getting the task done perfectly and with due diligence. Each and every activity can take a toll on you mentally and physically. Thus, piling up many tasks in a single day can hamper your quality of work and effectiveness. A study has shown that constantly switching between tasks can bring your productivity down by 40%. Fewer tasks means you have more time to obsess over its quality and pay meticulous attention to detail.

Make a few changes to your working style

Changing the way you work can help you boost your productivity. For instance, start working in natural light. A study by the Northwestern University found that office workers’ exposure to natural light has an impact on their sleep, activity, quality of life and workplace performance. Take a short nap in the afternoon. Studies have shown that taking a twenty minute nap can rejuvenate, refresh and recharge your mind, body and brain to work better. A research by Mac Berman, a psychologist from University of Michigan uncovered that spending time outdoors, amid nature, can improve an individual’s cognitive function and thereby perform better. Incorporating these small changes can help you work smarter and more efficient.

Time your tasks

Assign a time limit for all your tasks. Start off by creating a comprehensive to-do list. Group all your high-priority tasks together and set yourself a strict schedule. You don’t necessarily have to complete the said task in the specified time frame. This will only help you stay organized and focussed, and will leave you with no time for procrastination. Besides, timing yourself can make you more aware of how long a particular task takes for completion, thus helping you to design a more accurate work schedule.

Be smart while delegating tasks

Delegate tasks you shouldn’t do to people who should. By taking up tasks that don’t lie in the purview of your strengths, you will be compromising on the quality as well as spending a lot of time on them. This starts with the acceptance that there are a few areas you may be weak at. Delegate such tasks to those who are good at them. This will enable you to prioritize on other tasks that need your immediate attention. As a leader, it is your duty to get more work done efficiently and this begins with delegating duties smartly.

Make notes and follow up

Interruptions are inevitable. When you leave a task midway to attend to other important things, make note of where you left it off. This will help you get back to the task immediately, without having to waste time on trying to remember where you left things. Each and every task you set out to do needs a follow-up. Make sure you don’t leave any loose ends that might suck up a lot of your time in the future.

Stop procrastinating and start working

Procrastination is a trap that snares most of us. How often do we start a task with determination, only to realize that our mind has wandered off on a different tangent.  Procrastination is a vicious cycle that will only add to your work load. The best way to confront your to-do list is to start with the task that is most interesting to you. This sets of the momentum and will help you beat the procrastination bug. If there is a particular task that you have been putting off for a long time, try to work on it every day for at least 10 minutes without interruption. This will help you make small advances towards a bigger goal.