“Work Smarter, Not Harder” … a phrase that sounds all too familiar to the everyday working person who is tirelessly praying for more hours in the day! The consensus is that if you’re the first one in the office and the last to leave, you’re working harder than your peers but are those peers merely working smarter than you to suit themselves? The thought-provoking phrase sparks the emotion that you can “have it all” by working smarter; but you guessed, nothing is as easy as it sounds.
The key intricacies to working smarter are rarely discussed, whether it be working for yourself from home or for an employer in the office a few less hours a week, the main aim is to be as productive as possible in order to complete tasks over a smaller period no? When working from home especially, getting things done can be more challenging than you’d expect. It’s not only easy to get distracted, but it’s easy to forget that you’re there to work. That’s why so much of productivity starts with your own attitude, and how you set yourself up for success throughout the day.
So, to get you started here are a few hacks from the Out Hustle You Academy that will help boost your productivity and have you working smarter in no time.
- Get dressed– All the way down to your shoes. Nothing sends a negative message to your brain faster than you trying to work in your pyjamas. If you’re dressed for sleep, your brain is going to be thinking its bedtime – regardless of how many hours of sleep you’ve had the night before. While you might not need to wear a suit and tie to get yourself in the mindset of work – don’t discount the possibility. You’re trying to train your mind to think of your home as your workspace. In order to do that you need to wear clothes that will tell you it’s time for work. And why shoes? Shoes tell us we’re ready to go somewhere. Wearing shoes is a subtle psychological shift in thinking that you’re ready to get things done.
- Turn off your phone. Unless you need it for work, it’s only going to be a distraction. Not only will social media be a constant temptation, but also constant notices of new email, new text messages, and status updates will take you out of the moment and make it harder to get started again. Try setting times to check your phone for messages and turn it off in between when you need to get things done.
- Create your workspace. Make sure you have a place to work that’s conducive for work. If clutter distracts you, then keep your desk clear. If you’re working on the couch, do you have an adjustable laptop stand to keep your keyboard at the optimal height? Do you have a decent desk chair to sit in that is ergonomically friendly to your back? You’ll get a lot more done if you’re comfortable than if you’re fighting with the furniture trying to get comfortable.
- Don’t forget to eat. Working from home wreaks havoc with your personal schedule. But skipping meals will lead to reduced productivity and poor health. Also, don’t get in the habit of grabbing what’s quick. Going through a box of Chocolate Digestives might keep your sugar up all afternoon, but you can be guaranteed a crash later on, not to mention a body that won’t thank you for that treatment later.
- Keep in touch. Working from home can get really isolating. Maintain friendships and work from a coffee shop occasionally. Get out of the house. This helps keep you sharp mentally and more able to get things done when you sit down to work.
- Allow yourself some time. In other words, why not take that ball and throw it for Fido for ten minutes. Working from home is supposed to give you the flexibility to do stuff when you want to – so long as you make up the time later on.
- Keep the distractions. Not everyone can work in a silent atmosphere. You might find you need some white noise in the background to be more productive. While using the TV is generally a poor idea (as it gets distracting) you might find you work best with some music playing. Again, experimentation is key.
- Schedule a meeting. When you started working from home, you might have thought that you’d escaped the corporate meeting mindset. But sometimes a series of emails or texts isn’t enough to get the idea across. Rather than waste time trying to explain in text, schedule a phone meeting where you can handle questions, and discuss key points that otherwise might be missed. You’ll wind up saving a lot of time in the long run.
- Find a tool to help. Can’t stay on track? Need something to help you break down a bigger project? There are various apps for that. For anything from task managers to motivation, you can find it in the app store. Everyone is different, so it might take a little experimentation to find the one that works best for you.
- Keyboard shortcuts. If you’re on the computer a lot – try keyboard shortcuts. While the time saved here might be somewhat minimal, the idea behind keyboard shortcuts is great. You’ll find you’re getting a lot more done, much quicker the less you must take your hands off the keyboard and go to the mouse.
Productivity really starts with you. By taking care of yourself, being mindful of your time and putting some effort into your work environment, you’ll be better able to be more productive in your work day.