Working all hours? Feeling exhausted? Maybe it’s time that you work smarter, not harder. Here are 7 easy tips to help you to make your life easier:
Use a task list
Keep a list of all of your tasks and categorize them. You can do this for home and work. For home you may have a task list with sub-categories of home improvement and shopping lists, and for work this may be for different locations. Keeping a list also allows you to complete projects in blocks rather than feeling the pressure to complete them all at once. This gives you an easy reference to follow, and the satisfaction of crossing completed projects off of the list!
Take a break
It may seem counterintuitive, but taking brakes are important. You need to give your brain a rest in order to be truly productive and effective at your work. A good rule of thumb is to take at least a 15-minute break every two hours of work. One in the morning, break for lunch and one in the afternoon. The same goes for home life.
Consider taking a break outdoors also. You spend enough time inside behind screens and under fluorescent lights. Take your time to recharge!
Manage your email
You cannot ignore your inbox. Keep it clean. Even if you do not organize it into folders (you should), you need to keep on top of reading it. If you feel like you have too much coming in, consider utilizing filters, unsubscribing to lists and marking items as spam.
Make the call
Before you start an email chain that results in 70 emails, ask yourself this question, “Can I resolve this matter or answer this question with a quick call?” If you can, do it. Bring voice communication back and save yourself time!
Prioritize to work smarter
Whether it’s tasks, conference calls, meetings or figuring out who is going to pick up your kids from school or dog from the groomer, you need to prioritize. Prioritizing helps you to plan ahead. Otherwise you may find yourself trying to find a last minute solution to finish a task or meet a deadline.
Make a habit
Once you determine what process or process works for you, as well as regular activities you need to complete, (e.g. write a blog every week), you should commit to making it a habit. Once you create a habit, the panic to meet a deadline because your forgot fades away. Commit to the habit for six weeks (you may need to set reminders), and after you continue it for another six weeks, it should be set in stone.
Make sure you get enough sleep and try napping. I had a colleague who I worked with years ago that napped every day on his break. He said it made him feel more refreshed for the afternoon, and more attentive when spending time with his family in the evening. Getting enough rest – at least eight hours – is vital to remaining productive and functional.
Have other tips to work smarter, not harder? Tell me about it in the comments below or on twitter.com/nerdsquawk.