What it really means to work smarter and not harder

We’ve all heard the expression ‘work smarter, not harder’. It’s something that’s often brandished around, when it comes to being more productive with your time and working more effectively at work. But what exactly does it mean – to work smarter and not harder – and how can you implement it as a strategy?

What it means to work smarter and not harder

Forsyth Magazines (who incidentally use it as their motto), explain in this article that most of us will have our own definition of this phrase. However, they define the ‘work smarter, not harder’ phrase as follows:

“To work smarter, not harder generally means using your thinking skills to minimize tasks and extra steps, so that you use your time wisely and more effectively to get things done quickly.”

And that seems to be quite a good description. We often think the solution to a problem is to throw more time at it. For example, if our to do list is too long, we work longer hours, and if we’re stressed, we take more time to unwind – but time isn’t the real solution to these types of scenarios. The solution is to get some of those tasks off our to do list, and to find out what is stressing us out. And that’s why it makes sense to work smarter and not harder.

Signs you need to stop working so hard and get a little smarter in your approach

So how do you know if you’re working harder and not smarter? Here’s 12 quick signs you need to watch out for:

  • You constantly feel there aren’t enough hours in your day to do everything
  • You feel stressed and anxious
  • You find yourself consistently working more hours than you want to be
  • Your to do list is out of control
  • Routines and workflows aren’t something you tend to use
  • Automation is something that you’ll implement one day – when you get time
  • You’re multitasking
  • You’re constantly checking emails and social media
  • You struggle to stay focused on tasks
  • Switching off from work isn’t something you do
  • You’re procrastinating
  • You feel like your whole day was busy – but you didn’t achieve anything

The good news is that you can easily solve these signs, if you create a strategy that will help you stop working quite so hard, and get a little smarter in your business.

A simple strategy that will enable you to work smarter

You now know what it means to work smarter and not harder, plus you know how to spot when you’re not being quite so smart in your business activities and are working too hard. Now it’s time to implement a simple strategy to help you work smarter.

Work on your time management

Improve your time management, so you’re working more effectively with your time. This includes using chunks of time and getting yourself into a working routine. Check out this recent article on our site, as it will show you 3 top time management tips to keep you productive – including how to get ahead with your working day.

Create a routine that works for you

Routines are a great way of helping your brain out, as they help establish patterns. And patterns mean we complete something faster, as we automatically know what to do and the order we do it in. Writing down workflows is another great way to create routine – plus they can also be added to a procedures manual, so someone else can take over the task at a later date, if needed!

Make use of the available tools and resources

There are so many resources, tools and options available to help you work smarter and not harder. These vary, from apps on your PC or smartphone that help automate tasks, right through to outsourcing those tasks you don’t need/want to be doing.

[If you’re looking for more ways you can work smarter, not harder, check out this article on Lifehack. It covers 12 ways you can work smarter, from the obvious through to the not so obvious!]

Working smarter and not harder is an expression that’s often used, but seldom understood. However, by reading this article, I hope you’ll understand what it means for you. You’ll also be better able to spot those warning signs that highlight when you’re not working smart and implement a plan to rectify it.

And if you want to make use of one of the main resources available to you, why not get in touch and see how outsourcing can help?

It’s a key way you can improve your time management and will help you to work smarter and not harder, moving forward – so why not get in touch and see how Green Tree Virtual PA Services can help you to work a little less hard and a little more smarter!

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