How to work smarter, not harder

Man at desk working smart

“Hard working individual”… have you heard that before? Like most of the population you probably have this written on your CV – but what does it mean?

Does working hard mean working late? Does it mean achieving more or simply spending more time on mundane activities.

When you really dig deep into what it means to work hard, you’ll find it’s probably not something valuable to your work, career or personal time. And it’s only going to leave you feeling tired, run down and bored of your job by the end of the week.

Take it from us, a group of people working together in the office supplies industry who love office life, these tips will help you work smarter, not harder.

  1. Take breaks
    There are a variety of working methods that will help you insert regular breaks into your working day. These can be five minute breaks after 25 minutes of work like that found in the Pomodoro Technique or up to 90 minute bursts of activity on a dedicated task followed by a 10 – 15 minutes break.
    The key is to move away from your desk, stand up, rest your eyes from the screen and come back refreshed ready to tackle the next task.

  2. Set a bedtime alarm
    To work smarter, you should establish a regular bed time and wake up time each day and make it the same time every day. This will help you fall asleep easily at night and make waking up early a breeze.

  3. Start a morning ritual
    Having a small personal activity you do the in morning that puts you in a good mood will inevitably make your day much easier not matter what you’ve got to face in your schedule.
    This could be anything from having a nice relaxed breakfast instead of eating toast on the way to the station or it could even be 10 minutes of meditation to get those chaotic thoughts at bay. Try Headspace, the guided meditation app to get you started with mindfulness.
    You could even spend five minutes at the beginning of the day, organising your desk or writing your to do list. This can be therapeutic and help focus your mind for the day ahead.

  4. DO NOT DISTURB TIME
    Set up a system with your colleagues or team mates who you work most with and establish a time of day that suits everyone for quiet working time. This limits the constant questions, chat and disruptions to your work flow to a minimum and to a set time of day. Giving you the quiet space and time you need to get those mind boggling tasks completed. Now that’s how you work smarter!

  5. Switch off email and social notifications
    In this age of constant connectivity, there are push notifications, buzzers and texts and rings going off from every direction. One trick to avoid these unnecessary distractions is to switch off all notifications.
    Did you know it takes 25 minutes to return back to full concentration on a task you were working on after you’ve been distracted? That’s a lot of time wasted just trying to refocus when you could just maintain clarity on one task at a time but reducing the amount on white noise and notifications around you.

  6. Top 3
    What are your top 3 priorities for the day? There’s no way you’ll get everything that’s on your list completed, something else will always crop up or a project may take longer than expected. So simply put your energy and time into achieving the three big tasks you have.
    Use a method like “Eat That Frog” or your preferred prioritisation technique to work smarter not harder.

  7. Get organised
    While you may think filing emails is total sink time, you’ll find that it could save you time in the long run. Setting up rules and de-cluttering your digital footpath will make things much clearer. An inbox with eight emails is a lot less stressful to deal with than one with 800.

We hope our tips help you work smarter and not harder and find a few short cuts in your day to speed things up and ease the burden.

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