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How to work smarter, not harder

by: Tanta Noramon
How to work smarter, not harder

Increasing your productivity and performance at the workplace while increasing your overall job satisfaction can be achieved by working smarter, not harder. Furthermore, it increases your job security by making you a valuable resource to the organization where you work. Working smarter rather than harder requires some practice and development.

It is very important to understand that smart work doesn’t mean finding shortcuts, adopting ineffective approaches, or slacking when working. Working smarter means that you achieve the desired goals or desired outcomes in a streamlined yet productive way.

There are many pieces of information all over the internet about working smart but we have some tips for you that will allow you to work smart.

Create a work plan for the week

The first step to working smarter instead of harder is the first step to working smarter. Typically, employees do know what they have to accomplish in the entire week. So, make a plan for it and write it down in your notebook or digitally in your notes. Once you know what you need to accomplish, you can divide it into practical deadlines.

Prioritize your most important tasks

After creating a weekly work plan for yourself. The first thing that you should do is identify the top tasks for a given day. When you know all that you need to accomplish, prioritize the tasks. This will help you need to get done first and avoid missed deadlines.

Prioritizing is nice in theory, but difficult in practice. Here are the steps you should follow to prioritize your work effectively: 

  1. Determine which tasks are high-impact work.
  2. Ask your manager what they need from you first. 
  3. Estimate how long each task will take you to complete. 
  4. Put the high-impact tasks, important to your manager, and fastest to complete at the top of your list.

Focus on one task at a time

A picture of a man working on his computer.

There are employees worldwide who believe in multi-tasking, which could be an effective way in some fields. However, if you are working in the corporate sector or the development sector, it is best to focus on one task at a time. Put all your efforts, experience, and energy into one task and once it is accomplished, you can then move on to the next one.  Multi-tasking can end up being a cause of stress and you certainly don’t want to be stressed.

Study the components of the task and objectives

One of the most important tips for working smart is studying the objectives or the expected outcome. When you know exactly what you need to achieve, then you can work around it. At times, people are not clear about the objectives or achievements and work too hard with minimal results. List down the objectives if a task has one. If the task doesn’t have specified objectives, it’s good to create objectives for yourself.

Make sure that you go through the assignment or the task way before the deadline so that if you are unclear about something, you have enough time to communicate with your line manager.

Clarify any confusions before starting the task

This step will definitely prevent you from working hard. At times, people get confused and work extremely hard for a specific task and then know that it wasn’t needed in the first place. After you have studied the objectives or components of the task, set time with your line manager to discuss confusion. Make sure that everything is clear and the entire team is on the same page.

Make sure that you have the appropriate tools and documents

To get started with the task, make sure that you have all the appropriate tools that may be needed to achieve the objectives. You may need certain documents from other team members so make sure that you get them. This way, you will not have to start from scratch. You are all set to get started to accomplish the tasks by now.

Technology is your best friend

taskworld-product-development

In modern times, technologically advanced software and tools have made life easy. For your tasks at the workplace, use software that you may need for monitoring and evaluation. Instead of managing everything from scratch on an excel sheet, use a project management tool like Taskworld. Similarly, software like Grammarly can help you eradicate plagiarism from your documents.

There is no harm in researching or taking help from google if you get stuck with something. Even if it doesn’t give you the right answer for something, it will guide you towards a direction in which you can improvise and adjust according to the need of the task. You will certainly be saved from hard work but will be directed towards smart work.

Be crisp and precise with your communication

Some people add unnecessary graphs, figures, or information to their documents or reports to make them better. They are not actually making the reports better by adding unnecessary things, they are just increasing their workload. Be crisp, clear, and precise with your reports or tasks. Your client or management doesn’t want an explanation of unnecessary things. They just want the goal to be achieved. If your assignment or task is short but covers everything required, then it is good to go. Never look at the word limit if writing a report, the number of graphs during evaluation, and the length of a document.

The brief the document is, the better it is. Extra information will not do any good to the actual task, it will just be something that will be cut out later.

Track your time and review your productivity

To work smart and figure out your weaknesses, it is best to calculate your productivity by time tracking.

You can start off by tracking everything that you do during work hours. Follow this practice for a week. You can even use mobile phone apps which can track your activities and you will be able to see a trend. With that trend, you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses in terms of time management. Keep noting down things with which you struggle.

First, you can follow this practice for a week, then for two weeks, and then for a month. It will help you identify the rights and wrongs while you are working. By assessing the rights and wrongs, you can take certain steps to improve the wrongs and to strengthen the rights even more.

Do not stress about everything

The last tip to work smarter is to be calm. There are times when things go wrong but there is no point in stressing about them or being cranky. The best way out is to take a deep breath and think about the possible solutions. Write down the problem in front of you and list down the possible solutions for your ease. Once you have that, figure out the best possible solution and implement it to overcome the problem.

Secondly, there is no point in stressing over every little thing. Sometimes it is best to focus on one task and complete it with full determination instead of stressing about everything. When you feel overworked or stressed, don’t hold back from taking a break. Take some time out for yourself, relax, and then get started again. You will certainly be able to achieve the tasks.

In conclusion, working smarter is not difficult, it consists of a series of steps that need to be practiced to achieve the objectives of the project or the unified goals of the organization. You just have to be focused, organized, and you will be all set to achieve the goals.

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