We’ve all heard the adage, “work smart, not hard.” These sayings are common for a reason – when you work smart, your chance of achieving your personal and professional goals is astronomically increased. Success, or even ticking off that last daily task on a Friday, leads to a feeling of accomplishment, which in turn contributes to your overall feeling of health and well-being.
There are many ways to approach your daily tasks – and you make a choice every time you sit down to work. A choice to be productive might sound like an easy one to make, but it’s a bit more complicated than some might think. Let’s explore a few simple and free ways you can improve your productivity today.
Identify your passion
Engaged and passionate employees often create a 21% increase in profit! Some would say that passion is no substitute for hard work – and they’d be right! Passion and hard work should exist in the same space, and you are responsible for making that happen! A passion for social media can morph into a position in digital marketing. A passion for computers and gaming can lead you to a career in network security.
No one is responsible for ensuring you are fulfilled by your job – meaning this is the first step you take toward success. Choose a position (or create one) that utilizes your inherent skills and passions. The world is full of titans of industry who changed everything with their passion (cough* Elon and Einstein), but car wash owners, developers or marketeers are just as likely to put their mark on the world by following their heart and head.
Work Smart, Not Hard
There are few simple ways to set yourself up for a successful day of working smarter and not harder. Plan your day or week to create structure, and operate within that well-thought out framework. Check your daily calendar (if you don’t have one, create one!) as soon as you sit down for work, to ensure you are aware of all meetings or unexpected tasks. To-do lists are a great way to ensure you are at least aware of your daily priorities and goals. Finally, using two computer screens gives you twice the access, with half the clicking, closing and shifting of windows.
If your house is burning, do you trust the firefighter who moves quickly, calmly and deliberately to put out the fire, or the panicked firefighter, running or yelling, but not saving your home? Productivity is not the same thing as busy – and staying stressed and overwhelmed is not typically an environment where productivity thrives. While some people can hand you the moon after a period of high-stress and disorganization, most people don’t work well like this (even if you think you do).
Planning, Commitment & Flexibility
Identify your short and long term goals and priorities, and plan your work days around maximizing your output with the least amount of stress. Once you’ve identified your focus, commit 100% of your attention and effort to successfully completing the higher-priority tasks. Get comfortable with change when working on a project. What is change management in project management? Change management is the ability to pivot as needed to succeed. Change is often an environment where productivity and creativity thrive, so learn to embrace it!
Ensure that you leave daily down-time for yourself to disconnect. How you prioritize (or dismiss) your own health and energy will determine the quality of your ultimate product. If you burn-out, we can all agree your product will not achieve a comparable level of excellence as a product completed by an energetic and centred worker.
Never Stop Learning!
The e-learning industry is expected to grow by as much as $36 billion by 2024, meaning the opportunities (free or paid) to educate yourself are endless. Take some down-time to research your market space, news that might affect your business, or new products or opportunities you could potentially offer. There is endless market research at your fingertips with the internet! Take a free class or seminar, attend a webinar, or enrol for online courses. Seek out your passions and enhance your skills!
Productivity is more than a buzz word. Most of the world was forced to re-evaluate their working methods and productivity, when they started working from home after COVID lock-downs swept the globe. Even if productivity has never been an issue, a shift in work environment will create a shift in your productivity and output. It’s your responsibility to create a work environment (or a job) that will keep you engaged, excited, learning and productive – good luck!