Eight hours is a long time. Can you imagine sitting through an eight hour movie? Do you get excited at the thought of an eight hour car ride? So why is it that the eight hours we spend at work races by and is never enough time to get everything done? Instead of staying late and wearing yourself down, try working smarter not harder.
The best way to work smarter? By focusing! Remember when you were in school and you forced yourself to go to the library alone and turned your phone off? You were so productive back then! After a few hours, all of your work was complete and you felt amazing.
While easier said than done, you have to try to recreate this effect at work. Set aside time each day where you turn off your phone, don’t check your email and ignore your co-workers. This sounds harsh, but the best way to focus on a difficult task is to cut out all distractions. By spending one hour a day isolated and tacking your most complex assignment, you can free up your mind for the rest of the day. You will be less stressed, less drained and more productive. Every day block out an hour on your calendar and make it clear to your co-workers that it is your hour to get down to business.
#2 Take breaks
Never underestimate the importance of taking breaks, similar to focusing, in your breaks you need to switch off completely. Do something different, go for a walk and take in some air. Having some space to think about things that are unrelated to your work will make you so much more efficient when you return.
#3 Work with a timer
The Pomodoro Technique works really well for us, basically it means that you set a timer for 25 minutes and do nothing but work for those 25 minutes. You focus on the task in hand, you eliminate distractions and you launch full on into your tasks. Then when the 25 minutes is up you get a luxurious 5 minute break to do whatever you want. Rinse and repeat, and after 4 ‘Pomodoros’ you get to have a 15 – 20 minute break.
#4 Manage a team
It can be hard to delegate tasks, but it’s important to use or create a team to work to their strengths. Doing everything by yourself means you are working hard but you aren’t working smart. Find people around you who will help you with the tasks you’re working on and train them, don’t just trust them to get the job done.
#5 Pre plan
Planning ahead is the best way to get things done. You need to come to the office with a clear structure of what you need to do and when you need to do it by, although it seems silly, spending some time outside of the office making a little plan in your work diary will really help you out in the long run. Or try this weekly desk pad to write down all your to do’s!