There are a number of ways to work smarter, not harder. Here are ten ideas to try.
1. Establish a Routine
Set a timetable every day as you did when you were in high school. A daily timetable can help you stay on top of your professional and personal life and save a lot of time because you won’t have to decide what to do next.
2. Work with Your Body Clock
Some people are early birds, while others are night owls. Create a timetable that works for you based on your body clock. Also, work out which are the most productive times of the day for you and timetable them with your most important projects and chores.
3. Don’t Overload Your Schedule
There’s no need to be a super worker. Create a manageable timetable that doesn’t require you to work 14 hours per day.
4. Keep Family and Friends Up to Date about Changes at Work
There will be times when you are very busy and stressed. Telling your support network will help them feel less resentful and more willing to back you up during the tough times.
5. Keep Control over Your Email
Don’t check it all day, every day. Set up a couple of slots on your timetable so you can check it morning and afternoon. Most of the time, there is nothing so urgent you have to drop what you are doing to deal with it.
6. Manage Your Social Media
Social media can be a great way to connect with others and even market your business, but it can also be a big time eater and time waster. Pencil in two sessions per day on your timetable to take care of this task. Set a timer so you don’t overdo it.
7. Keep a Work Log
If you have no idea where the time goes during your workday, create a spreadsheet of 15-minute increments and note down what you do during each of them. You should soon see a pattern and be able to reclaim some lost time.
8. Create an Efficient Workplace in the Office and at Home
Your motto should be, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” This will save a lot of valuable time not having to hunt for things because you will know exactly where to look.
Studies have shown that a neat and clean desk is more admired by management than one that is piled to overflowing.
In terms of personal paperwork at home, be sure to file bank statements, insurance policies and more, so you can grab them any time you need them without shuffling through a mountain of paper.
9. Outsource Easy Tasks
If you have your own business, remember that outsourced workers can handle a variety of tasks – from a quick messenger job across town to a virtual assistant or bookkeeper who will help you stay organized and focus on your strengths in exchange for one low hourly fee. Why struggle to do your own garden when there are plenty of services that can free up your time?
10. Automate as Much of Your Process as Possible
Chances are you have a number of repetitive tasks in your job or small business which can be systematized and done the same way over and over again. You can create a checklist of the process to remind yourself of all the steps you need to take. You can also hire a freelancer and give them the instructions. Remember, you will never be able to earn $100 per hour if your time is being eaten up by $10 tasks.
Use these ideas to give yourself more free time, while still getting the same amount of work done.