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Last Updated on by Noni May
‘Work smarter, not harder’ is a sentence you might have heard before. But how does it work? Like, duh, everybody wants to work less hard, but it’s kind of hard to figure out how to work smarter.
The moment I moved from being a newbie to a more experienced entrepreneur in my idea? The moment when I stopped working 13 – 16 hour workdays and started working smart. I figured out I needed a few time management and productivity hacks to survive my working life haha. In the early stages of working for yourself you might think that you’re the best entrepreneur ever when you make long hours every day, but along the way you find out this is not how it works. You’ll feel burned out, overworked and under paid. The fix? Work smarter not harder. Now, I start my work day around 5 AM, work till 11 if I want and enjoy the rest of my day. And seriously, I get the same amount of work done as any other 16 hour day!
A great start to working smarter? My suggestions:
Get it out of your head! Don’t think about all the things you still have to do and don’t start with checking your email first thing in the morning. Start with reading your to do list (you should create this the day before!) and start your biggest task. Work till lunch, and check emails only after lunch. Because email is probably the most used excused when it comes to ‘I’m busy! I didn’t had time yet’, but it’s not an excuse. I do get thousands of emails per week, and I learned to just actually skip this at all haha (people hate me I know). Hiring a VA can definitely help to make the first selection, but I’m pretty sure you treat email like it’s your primary job. But I’m also pretty sure it’s not. Yeah sure, I do get my information via email and I do connect with people via email. It’s the way I collaborate with most people, how I get new clients and how I do most of my salesy/PR activities. But my primary job is writing, creating and photographing. So I often start my day with writing, and after that I’ll see if I have some time for replying to emails!
Multitasking: just don’t do it. We don’t need to talk about this. You think it works like a charm, but it doesn’t. We’re not made to do this. Try focusing on one thing at a time and you’ll see soon how good that works!
A good system is more important than you think. Clean and declutter as much as possible, so you know where you can find everything but it doesn’t distract you. From documents archived on alphabet to a new notebook: it will save you so much time when you know where you can find your stuff!
Leave some time open for unexpected matters. Maybe 90 minutes a day?
Don’t clutter your calendar. Note down only important dates and meetings, so you see in one sec. what today’s about. Maybe get a second calendar for different matters? And don’t write to do’s in your agenda!
If you work with people like VA’s, designers or colleagues: discuss how to work. For example: I always ask my colleagues to call me for tiny questions instead of emailing. It will take longer to answer their questions and I’ll feel super demotivated by opening my inbox and seeing 1.000.002 new emails. Same with CC’ing and important matters, have your email etiquette in order!
At the end of your work day: clean your working space, write a to do list for tomorrow, clean your cups and turn off your computer.
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