It can be difficult to not get sucked into the notion of "if you are busy, then you are being productive."
Unfortunately, our society has this common thought process that if you aren't scurrying from task to task, always checking e-mail, organizing something, making a call, running an errand, etc, that you must not be working hard or staying busy.
A constant need to do something and a tendency to waste time on unimportant tasks often leads to mindless “productivity”.
Instead of conforming to the way society and the work environment has brainwashed us into being, take a moment to slow down and look at the big picture.
When you are focusing on multi-tasking, nothing gets done. We end up stressed out, overwhelmed, with not much to show for our "hard work".
When I finally put into practice these 5 tips below, I started to reach my goals quicker, saw increased results and was able to train myself to focus on priorities in both my personal and work life.
It's time to re-train the way we view productivity and hard work! When you train yourself to work smarter, not harder, you will be blown away by how much more you will get done and how much stress will be removed from your day to day life.
5 TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS TO WORK SMARTER!
1. PLAN ONE WEEK AT A TIME
2. PRIORITIZE - DO THE IMPORTANT STUFF FIRST
When you are done, you can move on to other things that need your attention.
3. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
Studies show that when you get distracted from a project (by checking email, interruptions at work, answer text messages, etc) it takes 20 minutes to get back into "the zone". That's a lot of wasted time to get your mind to focus back on the important project you were immersed in.
Close out all other browser windows. Put your phone away, out of sight and on silent. Find a quiet place to work, or listen to some music if that helps you focus.
Concentrate on the task at hand. Nothing else should exist. Immerse yourself in it.
It may take a massive exercise in willpower, but shut the door and turn off your phone to maximize your time. Instead of being “always on,” plan a break in the day to catch up on email, call people back, talk with co-workers, etc.
4. PLAN AHEAD
One of the worst things you can do is jump into the workday with no clear idea about what needs to get done. The time you spend thinking ahead and planning your activities is trivial compared with the time you’ll lose jumping from one thing to the next (and rarely completing anything). That is why creating a morning ritual is vital (see my blog about taking back your mornings for more details on creating a morning ritual).Spend 15 minutes at the end of the day to look at your calendar and time block out work for the next day. Wake up 20 minutes early every morning to spend 5-10 minutes to plan out the priorities aligned with your weekly "Big 3".
5. EXERCISE AND EAT HEALTHY
Making work fun and finding the joy in what we do should always be the goal. By making it fun, it won't seem like such a mundane task and hopefully, you are doing something you love! If not, maybe it's time to start searching for a new career because life is too short to not enjoy the time you spend at work. It's never too late to follow your heart and do something you are truly passionate about. I should know, I changed my career after 10 years of working in an office to working in health and fitness! You can do anything you want, you just have to be willing to put in the work.
We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing. Even when we focus on working smarter, we’re still often too focused on getting things done. Take a moment to ask yourself "how can I make this fun and enjoyable"?
Be happy in all that you do! When you are less stressed and more productive, you will feel a sense of accomplishment which is one of the best feelings ever!
- Kelly Scott
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