Why Working Smarter, Not Harder, Is The Better Choice

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May 3 2022, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Contrary to popular belief, working nonstop isn’t actually conducive to productivity. In fact, it’s more likely to lead to burnout, stress, and lacklustre results. In order to achieve success, it’s important to work smartinstead ofhard. Working smart isn’t about the amount of time you spend doing tasks, but rather, how you choose to spend your time. It involves implementing strategies that will help you focus, streamline your workflow, and effectively manage tasks. With the right practices, you’ll be surprised to find how much you can accomplish in just a few hours.

By working smart, you can save energy while still producing better results. In turn, this allows you to stay motivated, strike a better work-life balance, and become a valuable asset to your company. If you want to start experiencing these amazing benefits in your own career, below are a few tips on developing a more productive work routine:

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Take breaks.

Working smart isn’t always about working. Rest is an integral part of achieving better performance, as it gives your body and mind the opportunity to recharge. By failing to rest, you may end up overworking your brain, which can cause you to feel more exhausted and distracted. Keeping this in mind, try to take breaks between tasks so you can stay in tip-top shape when you get back to work.

You can choose to take short naps during breaks, which is a surefire way to replenish your energy. Or you can also engage in calming or soothing activities. For example, if you’re religious, then praying can be a good way to achieve a more peaceful state of mind. You can even use phone apps—like the Muslim Pro app—with prayer notifications that will remind you to take a break and refresh your mind. If checking social media helps you relax, you can also follow accounts that provide uplifting and inspiring content, such as the Muslim Pro app Facebook page.

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Taking short walks outside can also be a great way to spend your breaks. According to research, reconnecting with nature can enhance your attention span and reduce stress levels. With that in mind, try visiting a place with lots of grass and trees, like a park or garden.

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Avoid multitasking.

If you want to boost your productivity and efficiency, you’ll need to give up on bad habits like multitasking. While multitasking might make you feel like you’re doing more in less time, this is actually a myth. In fact, studies have found that the time you spend switching between tasks actually prevents you from properly completing them. Essentially, multitasking causes you to waste time, rather than save it.

Try your best to focus on one thing at a time, and be sure to move on to your next task only when you’ve finished the previous one. This way, you can dedicate the right amount of focus to each task and deliver quality results.

Group similar tasks together.

If you’re working in a role that requires you to wear different hats or accomplish a variety of tasks, then it can be confusing to know which ones to attend to first. To make things more efficient, it’s good to group similar tasks into batches. The purpose of batching is to prevent you from context switching or shifting your mental gears for every new task, which could disrupt your focus and overwhelm you.

Grouping your duties prevents you from multitasking and helps you accomplish more within a certain period. It encourages you to focus on one category at a time and complete similar tasks in succession. For example, you can group tasks by project, amount of effort required, or the type of actions needed to accomplish them.

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Prioritise tasks that are harder or more urgent.

Besides grouping your tasks, it’s also helpful to prioritise the more difficult or urgent ones. Try to schedule them at the start of your work week, so you can ensure that you get them done first. Additionally, by ticking off all the bigger tasks on your to-do list, you can give yourself more time to relax during the latter part of the week.

Do intensive tasks when you’re most energized.

Everyone has different energy levels throughout the day. Hence, it’s a good idea to take note of the periods when you’re most alert and productive. Be sure to schedule more effort-intensive tasks during these time slots so you can properly address them. This way, you won’t end up working on difficult tasks when you’re already tired or exhausted.

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Simplify your to-do list.

Addressing a long to-do list can be daunting and may prevent you from effectively prioritising your work. With that in mind, try to shorten yours by only including five of your most important tasks. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can only accomplish those specific tasks within the day. This strategy simply ensures that you focus on the essentials before moving on to smaller duties.

Remember, you don’t have to toil away to have a fruitful professional life. Increasing your productivity can be as simple as taking breaks, prioritising the right tasks, and scheduling your duties at a suitable time. By following the tips above, you can create an efficient work routine that’s good for your mind, body, and career.

This article was written by Sophia Anderson and originally appeared on Your Coffee Break.

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