We all know the importance of productive habits and how they can help us get things done in little time. Terms like time-management, effective management, and prioritising are not new to us, yet many find themselves struggling to reach a state of high-level productivity.
Before they begin a task, they might think they have it all figured out but they end up spending more time than they bargained for and fail to achieve substantial results.
If this sounds like you, don’t give up. Productivity is something that requires one to be deliberate and cautious about their actions during the day. Whether you have 10 or 20 different tasks for the day, these tips below will help you get these things done by working smart and not hard.
Always plan your day the day before
One of the first things you should do to become more productive is to plan your day the day before. Before each day, list out all the tasks that you have for that day and set estimated time limits in which you will complete each task. Some people make the mistake of planning the tasks for the day on the same day they’re supposed to execute those tasks. This is a massive time waster and can drain you mentally before you even have the chance to start the day right.
Arrange your tasks in order of urgency
If you’re someone who is big on productivity then you must have heard of The 80/20 Rule. This rule suggests that only about 20 percent of the effort you put in contributes to a large amount of your result. In essence, you shouldn’t waste so much time on the less productive 80 percent.
For example, minimise the time spent on sending emails and invest more in learning an important skill. Another example is spending more time learning core concepts and key terms of a subject than less important details.
Give yourself strict deadlines to finish projects
Another weighty rule that would interest any productivity enthusiast is Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states that “work will fill the time available for its completion.” When you set aside some time for a particular project, you may end up working till the time has elapsed and still fail to finish that project.
This could happen both in times when you set aside more than enough time and when you set aside just enough time for a task. To prevent this from happening, focus on completing tasks rather than just working – set SMART goals, give yourself strict deadlines, and break your tasks into smaller pieces. Aim to work smart not hard.
Be Clear on Work Expectations
If you’re assigned a significant task, get clarity from stakeholders on what exactly they expect from you. When you have comprehensive information about delegated tasks, you save yourself a lot of time and stress.
Always get clarity on what’s needed for a task and to what level, and you’ll save yourself time racking your brain on how to go about it and get it done.
Recycle previous material
Sometimes you don’t need to completely update or overhaul materials for a project. You can simply copy, paste, and edit where possible. This is best done for emails, training, presentations, or other similar activities.
When you’re running out of time, simply tweak the materials you already have and use them to save time and deliver great content.
Here you go. These 5 tips above elucidate the concept of working smart and not hard. Adopt them today and you’ll see a major difference in the way you work.