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Let me paint you a picture: You've been hustling all day, grinding away at your to-do list like a boss. But by the end of the day, when you take a look at your list again, you realize you've barely made a dent in it. So your energy is depleted, your motivation is shot, and tomorrow feels like it's going to be another uphill battle.
Does this sound familiar? If the answer is yes, then it's probably time to stop working hard and start working smart!
We've all been there, pushing ourselves to the brink of exhaustion in the name of productivity. But not only is working smart and not hard a better way to go about finishing our tasks. It's also a strategy that has been proven time and time again to yield greater results in less time. With a little know-how and a willingness to change your approach, you can achieve your goals more efficiently and with less stress.
In our blog post today, we look at some ways you can work smart. You'll be amazed to see how they can transform the way you work!
Making a to-do list is a great way to get organized so you can set yourself up for a productive day. But it's not just about jotting down all the tasks you need to do! A big part of it is also prioritizing your tasks in a way that makes sense not just for your goals but also for your deadlines.
When creating your to-do list, first identify your most important and urgent tasks. These should be your top priorities for the day since they require your immediate attention. By tackling these tasks first, you'll be able to make progress towards any specific goals you have, all while avoiding the stress of rushing to complete them at the last minute.
Finally, consider the tasks that are less important or can be delegated to others. While these tasks may still need to be completed, they should be given a lower priority. Do them only after you've completed the more pressing tasks on your list.
Need help with prioritization? We've got a list of things you can do so you can meet deadlines! Check it out here.
Also known as the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts. In other words, a small portion of your actions is responsible for the majority of your outcomes. This means identifying that critical 20% can allow you to focus your energy and attention on the tasks that matter—by extension, you then achieve more in less time.
To apply the 80/20 rule to your work, you'll need to figure out which tasks on your to-do list are the most critical and likely to yield the greatest results. These tasks should be your top priorities since these are the ones with a significant impact on your overall progress. You want to focus your energy and attention on these tasks, dedicating the majority of your time and effort to completing them. By doing so, you'll be able to make significant progress toward your goals and achieve more in less time.
Not every task can be completed using the 80/20 rule though. Still, using it where it matters can help streamline your efforts and increase your productivity so you can achieve greater success.
If you've been reading our blog posts since the beginning, you know we always encourage breaks—it deserves to be considered a productivity hack. While it might seem counterintuitive to take one when your goal is to get more done in less time, it's been proven that breaks help you become more productive.
A proper break can improve your focus and boost your creativity, helping you come up with fresh ideas and solve problems more efficiently. It can also reduce stress and improve your overall well-being, allowing you to approach your work with a clearer, more positive mindset.
Want to make the most out of break time? Here are some ways you can take that break more effectively! It's also a great time to do something creative so you can relax and stay mentally focused at the same time—in which case, you'll love carrying our Pocket Journal around! It's small and compact, doesn't take up much space, and doubles as a wallet or passport holder. Not bad, huh?
This is especially true if you're part of a team or work in an office that shares the workload. And while it can be challenging to do, particularly if you're used to being in control of everything, this is a powerful way to free up your time and focus on more important responsibilities.
When it comes to delegating, it's not just important you know which tasks are worth delegating; assigning them to people who can do just as well as you is also vital. In a team setting, one of the benefits of delegating is that it empowers others on your team to grow and take on more responsibilities. By giving someone else the opportunity to handle a task, you're not only freeing up your own time but also giving them the chance to develop new skills.
When delegating, don't forget to communicate clearly and set proper expectations. Make sure the person you're delegating to understands what's expected of them as well. Be specific when giving instructions and deadlines, and be ready to provide support, answer questions, as well as offer feedback or guidance when it's needed.
When you have a big list of to-do's and seemingly limited time, it can be tempting to tackle more than one task at a time. Unfortunately, this can do more harm than good: not only do you run the risk of sacrificing the quality of your work with the constant back and forth, but you also become more prone to mistakes. It doesn't help that you have to correct whatever those errors are—which means there goes your time, wasted on redoing tasks you could have finished the first time around.
Multitasking, no matter what people say, leads to decreased focus and reduced productivity. Instead, try to focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention. Out of all the productivity hacks on this list, this is the one we swear by the most!
Some tasks are repetitive. Check the ones you do regularly and see if there are ways you can simplify or automate them. When you automate tasks, you eliminate the need to manually perform each one which frees up time for more important ones. This saves you precious time and increases your productivity. It doesn't need to be overcomplicated either!
For example: if part of your tasks is replying to emails, consider creating templates for answers to questions that you get all the time. Simply tweak it as needed to make it more personalized depending on the situation or person you're talking to. No need to type them up, just copy and paste or generate them.
If you want to be productive, having good time management practices is essential. You can't just say you'll start prioritizing your tasks; what are the ways you'll do so and what methods will you use? It's the same with following your schedule for the day. Even if you have one, if you don't stay true to it outside emergencies and other unexpected circumstances, then it's no use.
Making the most of your time is a major aspect of good time management so you may also want to be proactive when it comes to avoiding distractions and focusing on the task at hand.
If you need help with these two, we've got you! Here are ways you can avoid distractions.
Taking care of yourself is an essential component of productivity just like we've said in this post. Your mental, emotional, and physical well-being are closely linked to your ability to focus, be productive, and achieve your goals.
This is why self-care in itself is considered a productivity hack! Getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a healthy diet are some of the most basic things you can do to get started on taking better care of yourself. It's also important to prioritize activities that bring you joy and relaxation! This might include hobbies or spending time with family and friends.
The things we've listed down are not rocket science. They're very simple to do and ones we've read or heard about many times. There's a reason they keep coming up again and again though: because they're proven to work. Going back to the basics is, sometimes, all we need to boost our productivity!
What other hacks have you implemented in your life to help you stay productive? Share it with us in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!