Here are simple tips to work smarter, so you have more time to do the things you love with the people you love.
Use habits and routines to reduce decision-making
Making tiny decisions all day long puts a huge strain on our willpower, energy, and productivity. Decisions like when to take a break, which project to work on next, or what to have for lunch add up over time and take a lot of our mental resources.
One of the best ways to work smarter is to lessen the number of small decisions you have to make throughout the day, freeing up your mental energy for more meaningful tasks and creative thinking.
You can cut out a lot of small decisions by forming habits and setting up routines for yourself. When you build a habit of meal prepping every week, you don’t have to spend as much time thinking about what to eat for each individual meal. When you form a routine of taking breaks, working out, or doing yoga at the same times each day, you don’t have to spend mental resources deciding when to do these things.
You can use a calendar or phone alarm in the beginning to help solidify your routine and after a period of time it will become a habit! (Research suggests it can take anywhere from 21-60 days to build a habit so make it easy on yourself to make a new routine easier to remember!
Group tasks, meetings, and activities into batches
Kick your habit of multitasking to the curb
The single best thing you can do to work smarter is to stop trying to multitask. Research has proven that our brains physically cannot think about multiple things at the same time. That means when you think you are multitasking, your brain is really just jumping between two tasks quickly and frequently. Just thinking about it sounds exhausting, right?
This mental jumping back and forth leaves you less productive in both tasks than you would be if you focused on them one at a time, because your attention is constantly changing.
Slow down and take it one task at a time. You will likely find that when you focus on only one activity, you can actually accomplish more in less time, and you’ll be checking it off and moving on to the next task sooner than you think.
Celebrate what you accomplish each and every day!
A large part of being productive is keeping up the emotional and mental motivation to continue working on your goals. But it’s easy to lose motivation and steam throughout the day, especially when you feel like you’ve been working hard and making no progress.
To keep up your motivation, highlight your daily wins. Create a habit of checking in with yourself during the workday, to review what you’ve accomplished. Do not get stuck on the amount of time you spent on any one task — note the actual results of your efforts. You may have spent hours putting together a single report, but when you break it down, you realize you have completed 10 pages of analysis, collected 14 data sets, and created 12 graphs showing valuable insights.
Celebrating your accomplishments is an important habit for productive people. It helps you to see the impact of your time, recognize the outcomes of all your hard work, and fuels your motivation to keep going!
So, tell me, are you ready to finally jump of the hamster wheel and work smarter?