Working Smarter – Not Harder

I recently had an opportunity of talking to a life coach.  Our discussion was about management of my weaknesses and how to strengthen those areas.  I learned we have many different resources at our disposal and the most important of them is time.  We all have 24 hours in a day and you can chose to use your time in whatever way you please.  You can use your time for social obligations, family interaction, entertainment, personal improvement, or for work. Whatever patterns you see in the way you utilize your time will be evidenced by type of results and successes you are having in your life.  The good news is, you can choose to manage your time and resources to get more of all the things you need in life.  Here are few tips I picked that to share:

1.  Keep a to do list

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Always keep a daily plan on exactly what you want to do.  Focus on doing those things that provide the most reward first.  Keep in mind the most important things will contribute towards achieving your goals. Give such tasks great priority and work them to completion during uninterrupted times of focus – which leads to…

2.    Stop multi-tasking

Most people brag on how good they are at multi-tasking, when in fact they usually are letting one or more things. Multi-tasking is trying to do two or more things at the same time and surprisingly this is impossible.  To be successful you need to have intense and uninterrupted times to focus on and complete projects.  When you are able to focus exclusively at the task at hand until completion you walk away with a stronger sense of accomplishment and better results.  Whether it is checking emails or answering the phone – try blocking out distractions and see how much  more you can get done by focusing on one thing at a time.

3.    Keep a time log (for awhile)

While working, it is very important that you keep track on how much time you are spending on a given task.  Especially for someone who is constantly complaining about the lack of time they have or those who always feel rushed or behind.  It may be a good idea to set a reasonable time target on a specific task and strive to finish it before the deadline.  Use reminders like timers or Outlook Calendar to remind you of your deadlines and stop.  As you work to become more conscious about your time, you can figure out ways that will be more efficient.

4.     Personalize your approach

Don’t try and mimic what works for someone else.  For example, if you are not a morning person, but are trying to force yourself to do difficult tasks early in the day you are probably shooting yourself in the foot and making your life more stressful than it should be.  Figure out what works for you as an individual and don’t worry about what the “early bird” next door thinks.  Becoming more efficient and effective at work is a personal endeavor.  There is no “one size fits all” though many people will try to convince you their way is the best.

What the life coach really stressed was the need to strike a balance between work and play. Becoming a workaholic does not guarantee success. In fact, workaholics are poor time managers because they don’t know how to work smartly. They also suffer from burnouts and lots of errors in their tasks as they become overwhelmed. Using the above simple steps allows you to work smarter and therefore create more time to think and act outside the box which will allow you to continue your career advancement.

Do you have any tips or tools to work smarter or more efficiently?

by:  Anjela Mangrum, CPC

Anjela Mangrum is the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and machining manufacturing businesses to source and secure mid-to-upper level talent for operations, supply chain, and engineering positions.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x101.

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