6 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Regardless of your job or industry, it can sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. As a result, you constantly feel like you’re always behind. And that’s just not good for your productivity or your health.

So, what’s the answer? Work more hours?

When presented with a hundred tasks at once, you might feel like you have to work longer hours and push yourself to the point of exhaustion to clear out your to-do list. However, that might not be the best approach. Instead, take a second look at how you work, and start to learn how to work smarter, not harder, and discover more productive ways to get things done.

Let’s take a look at six simple ways to work smarter, not harder.

How to work smarter


1. Take more breaks.

One of the best ways to work smarter, not harder, is to give yourself a real break. That means putting up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door and no exceptions. Set a timer for five or ten minutes every few hours. Take a power nap, go outside for a short walk, or read a few chapters of a book, and you’ll be amazed at how well you can focus afterwards.

Pro tip: while playing with your phone may seem relaxing, avoiding technology altogether is the best way to use these breaks. Calling your mom or texting a friend is fine, but personal emails, social media, and online browsing are best saved for your lunch break.


2. Focus on one task at a time.

While it sounds counter-productive, doing only one thing at a time is an incredibly effective way to get things done more efficiently.

Taking on multiple tasks at once is a great way to become busy, and it’s usually a more exciting way of working. However, while multitasking might be stimulating, it invariably makes you less productive.

According to studies, when you think you’re multitasking, you’re actually not. Our brains can’t focus on two tasks at the same time— it’s just switching between them. Working on one thing at a time allows you to go deeper into each task and perform better. You won’t have to divide your time, attention, and energy—the three elements of productivity—across multiple things at the same time.


3. Have a clear vision.

Would you be able to share your vision if someone asked you to?

It is so important to have a clear vision. Many people consider taking the time to brainstorm and create a vision as something optional or something that would be nice to do one day. We’re here to tell you that is not the case. It is fundamental to have a vision. It isn’t a want. It’s a way to reduce the background noise, stay on track, and sharpen your attention.


4. Learn from mistakes and successes.

When you’re working quickly, you open yourself up to making mistakes, but you can tackle that risk by learning and improving at all times — so that generating high-quality work becomes second nature to you.

Learning from successes is just as important but far less common. You can boost your success by figuring out how to replicate it. What went well, and why? What should you remember, and what can you utilize from this experience?

Asking these questions helps you go from one success to multiple successes. It also helps in a more intuitive understanding of your achievements, saving you time when you sit down to start on a new project.


5. Celebrate your wins.

The key to success is realizing that our major goals aren’t going to happen overnight, or in the next week, or even in the next year, but that is totally okay. We tend to focus on the end goals rather than the small but equally important steps that lead us there.

It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate small wins. When we forget to celebrate our successes, we lose motivation, and motivation is what keeps us on track and gives us the strength to keep going until we reach the top of the mountain.

Find a way to honor each achievement, whether it’s by putting a star next to the date on your calendar, treating yourself to a special dinner, or going out with a friend. Goals are hard work, and you deserve a treat as you work toward them.


6. Outsource the nitty-gritty.

How much time do you spend responding to emails, trying to set up meetings, and updating social media? If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything, maybe you just simply need some help. The problem with “doing it all” is that you don’t have as much time to focus on new strategies and ideas.

For example, you can spend the whole day responding to customer inquiries, emails and creating content, or you can just hire a VA. Outsourcing to a VA will save you both time and money by allowing you to focus on more important aspects of your business.

Work smarter, not harder

The Bottom Line

Working smarter, not harder, is the key to increased productivity. Working smarter allows you to devote more time and attention to the things that matter most to you: your life goals, your personal growth, your health, and your relationships.

When it comes to work, hustling or burning the midnight oil may seem tempting, but there are far better ways to get things done. Use these six ways to improve your business, life, and side hustles. The moment you adopt smarter ways of working is the moment you decide to become more efficient.