3 Ways to Work Smarter, not Harder

18 days ago, I committed to blogging in this space for 31 days. On one hand, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve published every single day since, on the other hand, I’m starting to see how this commitment is impacting me personally.

The rhythm that I’ve fallen into is to write my posts between 10p and 2am every night. As I wrote earlier, this isn’t smart, but a commitment is a commitment, and you just need to hit publish, right?! Maybe not.

Last night I went to bed early so I could get some decent sleep. I resolved to wake up around 5:30am and write this post.

While I was fixing my coffee early this morning, my “little big guy” came down the stairs, sat down and said, “I just want to snuggle with my daddy.”

Folks, this is a no-brainer.

I grabbed a cup of coffee, blanket and we snuggled up on the couch to watch his favorite show: Mighty Machines.

It’s now 9:13am and I’m just getting to this post. 

I think goals are good. Success is fun (my traffic has climbed 127% since I started writing every day), but when your sleep, family and commitments begin to suffer, it’s time to reconsider what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

FACT: Working hard isn’t the same as working smart.

Working hard is focused solely on “what” you’re doing. Oftentimes this is looking at the list of projects or tasks, putting on your bootstraps and knocking them out one by one.

Working smart is focused on the “how” of your work. This means you take the list of projects and tasks and look for ways to get them done faster and smarter.


3 Ways to Work Smarter, not Harder

The key to accomplishing more isn’t in the number of hours you work, it’s in determining the most efficient and effective ways of getting your work done.

  1. Delegation – This hard to do and takes a considerable amount of planning on the frontend, but it is the most efficient way of getting a lot of work accomplished.
  2. Batching – This requires looking for a number of tasks that are similar, gathering them together and doing them all at once. Some of my favorite batching tasks are email, phone calls, paying bills and writing checks; employee, client and friend meetings and writing blog posts
  3. Prioritizing – If everything looks equally important, it’s time to step back and prioritize what you’re working on. This single effort will help you determine what needs to be done first, and more importantly will give you the ability to say yes and no to the right opportunities.

There are many ways to working smarter. Perhaps you have some of your favorite ways (feel free to share them in the comments).

If you feel that you’re doing your best at the “how,” then perhaps the problem isn’t your ability to work hard, or smarter, but to say no; and that’s a whole other issue. :)

Today marks a new way of doing things for me. It’s time to think about how I’m doing my work, not just what I’m doing.

Question: What are your favorite ways of doing smarter work? Share them in the comments below.

<photo credit>John Lund</pc>

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