For years you’ve heard the term work smarter, not harder, but what does this mean. We should all be working hard and giving 100% at everything we do, right? The answer is YES, but there are ways to work smarter without necessarily working harder. People continually complain about not having enough time in the day, yet they nothing to change that. They continue to do the same thing over and over again, never making any headway. We come home from work at night burnt out from the day with no energy to give back to the family.

 
I was the same way until I realized that there were ways to work smarter without having to work harder, and this allowed me to get ahead without working more hours.
 
 
Work Smarter And Not Harder PIN
 
 

 

 

Better time management

Working smarter and not harder, all starts with time management skills. If you can’t manage your time correctly, it will feel as though you are constantly spinning your wheels without making any progress. The most significant areas to focus on when it comes to time management are the following:

  • Set a time limit of 20-25 minutes to complete a task then take a 5-minute break to clear your head. Get up from your desk or cubicle and walk around, stretch, use the restroom, etc.
  • Avoid time-wasting on areas like social media, idle chatter, and anything that doesn’t keep you focused on the task at hand.
  • Plan for the next day before you leave work. Planning ahead allows you to set up the next day, and you will know going in what to expect.

 

Don’t hesitate to delegate

It is critical to come to the realization in life that you can’t do it all (though sometimes people think you can). There is no Superman or Superwoman. They are both fictitious characters. It is impossible to be great at everything, so make sure to focus your time and energy where you feel strongest and enlist the help of others to pick up the slack in areas you are weaker.

If you’re not good at working on spreadsheets, then ask someone who is better versed in this skill to help you. There’s no shame in asking for assistance. Great leaders and successful people are that way because they have surrounded themselves with great people, those that have strengths that they do not. You see this in major corporations and politics all the time. A President picks a cabinet based on people he/she knows can do that job better than they can.

 

Use To-Do Lists

Write down what needs to be done. I don’t care if it is digitally on a phone or tablet, a big pad, or post-it notes, but write down your to-do list. To-do lists provide you with an outline of targeted activities that need to be handled. They also allow you to see your accomplishments at the end of the day. This is a big motivator for many. If something that was on your to-do list today didn’t get accomplished, then roll it over onto tomorrow’s tasks if it is still of importance.

To-do lists should be manageable. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and utilize the to-do list at home and work. If you looked at my iPhone at any given time, you would find a to-do list of some sort.

READ MORE ON GOAL SETTING

 

Communicate

If you want to work smarter and not harder, you need to communicate. Communication is an interesting topic these days as people in business and life rely so heavily on email or text messaging. If you aren’t getting a response via these “newer” methods, then pick up a phone. I’ve been in companies before where people who are two cubicles away are emailing each other about a concern or project. Pick up the phone and call them or leave your desk and speak in person.

Speaking on the phone makes it easier than going back and forth in email exchanges. A phone call can often eliminate 30 minutes of back and forth and wasted time via email. Keep your messages short and concise (both email and phone).

 

Develop a Routine

I can 100% guarantee that people who work smarter follow a routine each day. They do not fly by the seat of their pants and wing it. Whatever your routine is, follow it every day, weekends included. Make sure part of your routine consists of a fitness regimen and proper eating.

One of the most famous life coaches on the planet, Tony Robbins, follows the same routine every morning. I’m not saying this should be yours, but it’s a good example.

  • Tony Robbins sticks to a morning routine designed to boost his energy and productivity levels for the day.
  • It includes a nutritional supplement, meditation, workout, and sauna-to-cold-plunge combo.
  • The entire routine can be done in under 30 minutes — but it’s intense.

For more on Tony’s routine, read this quick article in Business Insider. 

 

Fuel your body and rest

If you want to be at your peak and work smarter and not harder, you need to make sure you are fueling your body correctly and resting. Avoid junk food and fuel your body with proteins, vegetables, and superfoods instead of chips. It’s also essential to get the right amount of sleep each night. You can not be productive and on top of your game with only a few hours of sleep.

READ SLEEP WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOUR HEALTH

 

Always be learning

Above I talked about delegating to people who are better in certain areas that you are. When you find yourself insufficient in a specific area, take time to brush up on those skills. Watch videos, take classes, read books, and always be learning. Learning should never stop. Become an expert in what you do.

Working smarter, not harder, should be everyone’s goal. The catch is that when you start to see results, it’s easy to think that working an extra hour will get you to do even more. Resist the urge. Leave your office and go home. Tomorrow is another day. Your family will thank you!

What do you do to work smarter and not harder? Comment below.

20 Comments

  1. STEPHANIE S

    I currently stay at home with my children, and they actually attend online schooling. My day is spent going over lessons, managing my blogging schedule, attending live lessons/meetings, setting up appointments, etc. I make sure that in between all of this to take a few breaks. I meal prep during the week, and make sure to have snack boxes, and lunches prepped. -This has been very helpful, and makes things so much easier on all of us. Breaks are needed for all of us. I make sure we all get outside when the weather is nice, and just walk around, and stretch our legs out. It is really important. This way after we are able to focus, and feel refreshed. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips with us.

    Reply
    • Scott DeNicola

      Thanks Stephanie! Good to see you have a plan. It’s so important/

      Reply
  2. Melanie

    I love this article. These are really handy hints that are simple to adopt and try. The to do list is a must x

    Reply
  3. Dreams Abroad

    When I was in the Army I learned from experience Communication is key. Lack of communication always seemed to make everyone day bad. I believe this is one of the best tips although they are all great. Working smarter comings with many years of being a freelancer and saving time. When I was in the Army I always worked for someone else.

    Reply
    • Scott DeNicola

      Thank you for your service!

      Reply
  4. Julia

    Hi Scott,

    Thank you for the great reminders. Not that I’ve never heard of the practical ways to work smarter and not harder, but I have to admit that I can only credit myself for always learning… and avoiding junk food. Everything else is a mess in my life. 😌

    But you are absolutely right, I need to work HARD on managing my time better, getting enough rest and exercise, making To-Do lists, planning for the next day (I tried that, but something unexpected and urgent always comes up on a day when I actually did have a plan and ruins it), developing a routine (this one is the hardest for me – I hate routines!). If I master these skills, then I should be able to work smarter without working harder.

    I also agree that communication is important. However, from my days working in an office, I recall that email communication with co-workers who sit in the next cubicle was mostly for the purpose of informal documentation of the decisions made regarding the projects: emails keep the record, while in-person or phone conversations don’t.

    Wonderful post, Scott. It made me feel guilty for knowing yet not implementing the proven advice from very smart people. I thank you for making me think again about it. I’ll try to do better moving forward.

    All the best,

    ~ Julia

    Reply
  5. Britt K

    Thank you for the reminder. I am SO bad for failing to delegate, determined to take on everything myself. The problem is that I still haven’t figured out how to add more than 24 hours into a day yet… Maybe one of these days I’ll find that magical solution. Until that point, I need to learn to put these tips into action and let go of control a little bit on some aspects of my life.

    Reply
    • Scott DeNicola

      Thanks Britt

      Reply
  6. Kelly Martin

    I’m all about working smarter not harder and these are great tips. I find that taking regular breaks throughout the day helps me to be more productive. Staying away from social media also helps. It’s so easy to waste time online.

    Reply
    • Scott DeNicola

      Unless you’re reading my site then stay online. 😄

      Reply
  7. Sarah

    I’m always looking for ways to find more hours in the day. When the early evening comes, I’m always thinking, how time just evaporates. Either my list is too long, or I’m not managing my time optimally. Thankfully, I do finish my – things to do list, but I feel at times, I can do them better. But sticking to a routine, has definitely helped with my time management and keeping me focused.

    Reply
    • Scott DeNicola

      Routines are great. If you get into a good one stay there!

      Reply
  8. Lene Andersen

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about productivity in the last year and have actually fairly recently started working in a concentrated way for 25-30 minutes, then taking a break, then doing it again. It really works for me — there’s a lot less procrastinating, flitting, and therefore getting more done.

    Reply
    • Scott DeNicola

      Check into the Pomodoro technique which is based on the concept you’re using.

      Reply
  9. Live Learn Better

    I feel you’re talking to me here. I have had to created a to-do list and shut my phone off sometimes to stay focused and complete tasks on time.
    These are wonderful tips to be bookmarked especially for people working from home.

    Reply
  10. Lyosha

    communicating and delegating is the hardest yet working the best for me. Your advice is very wise, thank you!

    Reply
  11. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia

    These are great tips Scott! I do multiple jobs in different areas and time management is something I struggle with. I need to organize my time better so I’m not overworking myself and not denying myself rest and relaxation. I like the idea of working in intervals and giving yourself breaks. In the long run it makes you more efficient.

    Reply
  12. Thuy

    I feel for this, my friends and I started a nonprofit and sometimes it’s frustrating that we have to put in a lot of work to lay down the groundwork and we definitely should be working smarter, not harder. The main thing we need to work on is delegation so we don’t become overwhelmed.

    Reply
  13. Lyanna Soria

    Those are some great tips and I’m already doing some of them. Definitely need to work on my time management since I get swamped with tons of work load a lot.

    Reply
    • Scott DeNicola

      it can happen. Writing out my day has seemed to work best. I have my salespeople at work do the same thing.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.