There’s an adage in Hindi which translates to – “work like a horse, not a donkey!”
Obviously, the donkey and the horse aren’t being judged for the kind of animals they are; it just sums up the fact that you don’t have to continuously slog to ensure a successful output.
In today’s world, everything is fast-paced, and one’s response time is crucial.
So, how to ensure you’re accomplishing significant tasks while not getting bogged down?
Here are 7 tips to become a smart worker for enhanced efficiency and better productivity:
Tip 1: Manage time effectively
Everyone has 24 hours/8-10 working hours per day. Yet, you’ll notice some people course through their day with ease while others keep trudging along, not achieving much even by the end of the day.
It’s important to know how to plan your day. A useful tool for this is a to-do list – itemized jobs for the day/ week/month with clearly defined priorities.
In addition, related tasks in the list should be clubbed into a time-block, incorporating breaks after each block, e.g., a block set for checking e-mails, attending to calls, doing creative thinking, etc. This ensures focus while preventing distractions.
Blocks of 25-minutes is considered optimal for getting meaningful work done without feeling exhausted.
Further, determine jobs that can be delegated and eliminate the inessentials for a relevant to-do. A google calendar works wonderfully to organize your time, do explore applications that suit you best.
Remember – the plan is not a binding contract; there will be interruptions, still, try and stick to your schedule for a productive day.
Tip 2: Learn to say “no”
Relationships are important, even in the workplace. That doesn’t mean you’ve to compromise on your planned activities for the sake of a colleague/senior who’s seeking a favour linked to a fast-approaching deadline.
If you’re someone who’s committed to your career & personal life and wants to make a difference, learning to say no is an important skill to inculcate.
Ultimately, you’ll gain respect for your professionalism and be able to build bonds, which you anyway cannot form by agreeing to last-minute, passed-on assignments or by being taken for granted.
Tip 3: Focus on single, not multi-tasking
While an individual executing simultaneous multiple duties sound resourceful, our brains are wired to focus on a single task at a given point in time. Working on random jobs can hamper outcomes of all the jobs whilst leaving one physically and mentally drained out.
Setting specific, measurable goals and working towards their completion in the desired time and manner are the signs of a “smart worker.”
Tip 4: Be flexible/adaptable
Intelligent employees think before they act, value-add to responsibilities they assume, are willing to employ different methods of solving a problem rather than time-tested approaches, which majority of the population prefers.
Continuous upskilling as per the needs of their industry, leveraging technology/social media to produce tangible results are something smart employees constantly experiment with to make their own and the lives around them easier and better.
They are innovative, have the courage to voice their opinions and dissent, thus setting them apart when the organization is tackling a challenging situation or dealing with change.
“Hard work without intelligence will create sweat, not results.” Anonymous
Tip 5: Measure quality, not the quantity
I’ve often come across colleagues proudly proclaiming to performing roles of 2-3 people in the company. This is next to impossible; anyone functioning like that will find themselves dissatisfied with the end result.
Your performance should reflect the progress and quality you’re generating instead of the number of activities you’ve put your hands and feet into!
Tip 6: Do not procrastinate
Coming back to the to-do list – critical tasks requiring immediate attention shouldn’t be postponed because you’re constantly thinking of executing it in a particular way. Get cracking on the issues demanding resolution instead of waiting for the “perfect” day/time.
Avoid browsing social media, informal chats with colleagues, and unnecessary meetings during this period.
Tip 7: Take a downtime!
Down-time must be an integral part of your work routine. Cultivate hobbies that help energize, like reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music, meditation, breathing exercises, and so on.
Short stretch breaks, catching up with a colleague for tea/coffee are highly recommended, so you can recharge those batteries and get back in full swing.
Say goodbye to times when struggling through work was the norm; adopt the mantra – be, think, and work smart for impactful outcomes!