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Work Smarter, Not Harder: 8 Time Management Tips to Maximise Productivity

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Everyone in our society tries to be hyperproductive all the time. But staying busy doesn't mean you're working hard; stop wasting time on menial tasks.

Most people are busy scurrying from task to task, checking e-mails every ten minutes, making calls, organising something or running errands both in their professional and personal lives. These people believe that the busier they are, the more successful they will be, and even though this may be true to some extent, it often leads to a monotonous and unproductive routine. So, we are here to suggest an alternative method for you to maximise your productivity.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

The famous term “work smarter, not harder” was coined in the 1930s by, Allen F. Morgenstern, an industrial engineer who created the work simplification program. His intentions were to increase people’s productivity with less effort. This quote proposed a new way of approaching everyday and professional tasks by not being robotic or squeezing as many tasks into a day as possible. Instead, he suggested simplifying the way you work by doing things faster in a more efficient way while relieving stress.

For those of you who say that progress usually comes from hard work, I am here to say that working hard is not enough to be successful or productive. Finding new ways to work smarter is the best way to achieve all your desired outcomes. Working smart requires a combination of discipline, critical thinking and techniques employed together for continual progress and productivity.

Time Management Increases Productivity

We all have those days when we find ourselves getting up from our desk, clicking through websites, answering phone calls from relatives only to realise it’s noon, and you still haven’t accomplished anything. But if this happens, daily it might be time to take action with the following time management tips that will help you maximise productivity.

#1 Write Down All Your “Time Wasters”

The first thing you need to do is write a list of the things you tend to waste time on every day. As soon as you notice you are wasting time on something, add it to the list. This will be your reminder of things you shouldn’t do, like watching thug life videos on YouTube instead of sending important emails.

#2 Stop Multitasking

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Just stop it! Multitasking is a myth; humans cannot physically multitask. All our tiny brains do is juggle focus from one task to another quickly, giving us the impression that we are multitasking. But this is not an efficient way to work because if you try to do a lot of things at once, you probably won't finish them all to the highest standard.

If you simply focus on one task at a time, you’ll see that your tasks will be done quicker and in a more efficient way since you won’t be hindering your productivity by multitasking.

#3 Complete the Most Important Tasks First

Even though it is easiest to start your day with the simplest tasks, this actually gives you the illusion that you are accomplishing something by avoiding the biggest project of the day. By the time you’re done with the small and less important tasks, you are already tired and even more reluctant to start on the important project.

Trust me on his one; try switching things up a bit and do the most important (and difficult) tasks first. You’ll see how much of a relief it will be once you’re done and the rest of your day will be smoother.

#4 Start Early

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If you want to increase productivity, make sure that you start your day as early as possible because the more time you have to sit and plan your day, the more organised you’ll be in all areas of your life - not just work. There are so many stories of successful people who develop great organisational skills because of their habit to go to bed early and rise early, too.

For example, if you wake up at 5:00 A.M or 5:30 A.M you will have enough time to plan your day and, as a result, be more effective than the others who sleep in and don’t plan their day until the last possible moment. By taking a few minutes to quietly reflect on your day, you tend to have a clearer mind, be calmer and be more creative throughout your working day.

#5 Set a Time Limit to Complete a Task

I know you usually sit down to work on a task thinking “okay, I am going to do this until it is done” but why don’t you try something like “I am going to work on this for the next 3 hours” instead? Having an actual time constraint for your work will push you harder to focus and eventually be more competent - even if you have to leave the editing process for later, it is better than working for hours on end without a result.

#6 Take Advantage of Waiting Time

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In our daily lives, we often have a lot of downtime where we don’t do much like while we are waiting in line at the store, in waiting rooms, on the subway or on the elliptical machine at the gym. Have you ever thought how much time that wastes? Try to find things to do during that downtime. If you have a lot of reading to do, this is the perfect time to catch up on some reading, or answer quick emails. You will feel extremely productive and will rarely be bored again, killing two birds with one stone.

#7 Work on the Weekends

Wait! Before you ignore this point just hear me out: let me introduce you to one of my favourite memes. It is a man throwing his paper aside yelling “It’s Friday! F*** this shit” and the following image only says “Monday” and the man is picking up all the papers he tossed in the air two days before. Why am I mentioning this? Because it is very fun and also very true. We always get so excited about the weekend that we “throw away” our work and tasks as soon as we clock out, only to return to them come Monday morning and pick up where we left off.

But, if we do just a little bit on weekends, we can lessen the workload during our entire week. If you aim for about 2-4 hours per day, you’ll have plenty of time to do all your activities and hobbies as well as have a relaxed and less stressful week ahead of you.

#8 Just Walk Away

Even though at first the thought of walking away from a difficult task may seem illogical and counterproductive, frequent breaks can make you more efficient.

Removing yourself from the office environment immediately reduces your stress and gives your mind a chance to relax and catch up. Did you know that if you are working on a difficult problem, your subconscious mind continues working on it even while your conscious mind is trying to relax? This is why ideas pop into our brains when we aren't “thinking” or working on the problem.

One thing’s certain, though: take your break and once you come back you will be healthier and more refreshed, ready to focus on doing some hard work and find solutions to complex problems.

Now you know how working smart is better than working hard and with these quick time management tips you will be able to increase your productivity to its maximum potential right away. All you need to do is understand that to be successful; you also need to give yourself some time to relax and refresh and not push yourself too hard.

Do you have any other time management tips for our readers? Share them in the comments section below…

See Also: 10 Tips to Help You Work Smarter - Not Harder

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