I imagine that, like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once. How on earth do you get out of that spiral? Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours.
Improve your time
Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better. For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus. Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.
Expect failure and fight paranoia
When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend. Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward. “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” -Richard Branson
Learn as much as you can
You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche. Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Look after your greatest resource
No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU. If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.
What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work. Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.
Don’t fall into the trap of working smarter and harder
As a society we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around. Great! The most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work.