We are often overwhelmed by how much there is to do and often think that we can push through and get it all done by working more hours. Working smarter will get you your time back and you will be more productive.
Working long hours isn’t always effective and can be hazardous to your health. In fact, studies show that productivity drops sharply after 55 hours, and, by the time you reach over 70 hours, productivity is so low that the output is the same as having worked 55 hours in a week.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to be more productive is to slow down. Having self-awareness allows an individual to prioritize his or her own needs, ask for help, cut losses, and build upon strengths in an intentional manner. In other words, working smart essentially means figuring out what your strengths are and building a network around you to build upon those in order to reach goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
The 80/20 rule basically suggests that a small amount of inputs contributes to a much larger amount of outputs. The purpose of 80/20 is to force you to be more ruthless in cutting time in areas that contribute little. Stop Multitasking, give yourself strict deadlines to finish projects. Set a timer for 90 minutes to finish a small project. Focus on the work for the duration of the time and stop once the time goes off. If it’s a larger project, divide it into smaller achievable goals.
Don’t overcommit, we constantly overestimate what we can achieve in one day, and underestimate what we can achieve in one year. Set big goals for yourself in life, but set small achievable goals for your day to day activities.
Sometimes when we’re working, our mind strays on other things we may need to get done, like household chores, kids’ schedules, groceries. When these stray thoughts come, quickly transfer them onto a notepad or to do list. This way, you’re sending a strong message to your brain that you’re taking care of business, and to keep sending these important reminders, but not to worry because you’ll get them handled.
Lastly, it’s important for us not to overwork ourselves and get enough sleep to maintain a high level of productivity. Next time you’re wondering why you may not be working productively, the reason may be simple as you being one of 70% of people who doesn’t get enough sleep.