Take It Easy! Work Smarter, Not Harder

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Building a companyDoes it seem like no matter how hard you work, you seem never to make a dent in your work? Maybe it’s time to stop working harder and start working smarter.

Build A Team
You know the saying “It takes a village…”? Well sometimes to build a successful company it will take a solid team. “Surround yourself with people who are experts in areas that you need help with. No one is superman/superwoman and even though we believe we can do it all, the truth is we can’t and we are not good at everything that needs to transpire to make our businesses successful,” notes Myra Dorsey, author of Benefit of the Doubt and owner of Maryland-based Labodi Massage Inc., “Swallow the pride and build a successful team around you. “

Automate & Outsource

If you can get rid of some tasks through automation, go for it. “Use simple automation tools to handle the redundant must-do tasks,” suggests Ashli Norton, co-founder at messaging?tool Autosend.io. “Find a way to automate tasks you do all the time. If you spend a lot of time on social networks use Buffer or Hootsuite to manage your persona. If you’re an entrepreneur use tools like IFFFT, Zapier, and Autosend.io to help automate everything from emails to customers to document creation.”

Another way of getting rid of pesky tasks is to outsource them. Have someone else do them for you. “There’s only so much time in the day and it shouldn’t be spent on tasks you hate doing,” adds Norton. “Outsourcing the tasks you hate makes you efficient and makes your day more enjoyable. For the price of a coffee you can surprisingly get help with almost anything on sites like Fivver.”

Say “No!”

When others try to get you to take on their responsibilities, you need to say no, especially when you have no more room on your plate. “With two kids (7-year-old diva and 3-year-old son), a full-time job, and ownership of a restaurant I have no choice but to work smarter,” explains Zee Brown, owner of Plant City, FL-based Top Shelf Sports Bar & Grill. “Don’t take ownership of others inefficiencies, push back on people who try to get you to do their work for them. Taking the road of ?I’ll do the task because I”ll know it will get done right? route is not always best because you condition others like in the Pavlov experiment to do haphazard work because they know you will take ownership of their errors. They are getting paid to do quality work don’t let people get away with subpar work handoffs. Hold them accountable!”

Go Through Control Rehab
Now in order to let you team do its job you will have to let go some control. By allowing your team to work for you, you will be freed up to do other things. “Delegate your work to those you manage. Stop being a control addict,” advises Dorsey. “Trust in your ability to hire the right staff and let them do the work that frees you to be more strategic, thus working smarter.”

Stop Procrastinating
When you procrastinate things pile up and then they can seem insurmountable. “Don’t procrastinate, this will help you work smarter because it will allow you to get the task done now versus building anxiety, a wasteful work effort, on something that you will eventually have to complete,” says Brown. “Also running parallel to this logic is the concept of multiple touches, often by procrastinating you have already touched the task already and now you are re-touching because you are experiencing paralysis by analysis which is an inefficient way to handle an ever-increasing workload.”

Organize Your Day
If you have a plan for your day, most likely you will stick to it or pretty close to it. “Prioritize the day: Start the day by spending time doing the things that need to be done first. No slaking off,” says implementation success coach Carol Sankar of Luxurious Coaching. “Limit the amount of idle time: Make sure the hours of business remain committed to the task at hand. No time for conversations that do not have value until the task that is on the agenda is complete.”

Adds career coach Jacqueline Twillie, “Give the most challenging task your highest priority. It?s best to do the hard stuff first, so that you decrease anxiety. Tackle each task based on priority level, if a task involves writing an email type in a word document and save it for later.Sort task in order of importance logging out of your email for 30-45 minutes at a time ( this includes desktop, tablet, smartphone). When you eliminate distractions you are not only working smarter but often times you can complete task ahead of schedule.”

Segment It
Have short busts of productive periods. “Work in therapist’s hours?,”suggests small business consultant Jennifer Martin of Zest Business Consulting. “One of the best ways to help people stay productive is to work a little then rest a little. Try working in 50 minute segments. Set a timer if you need to and then during your 10 minute breaks, actually take a break! Physically move around. Get up and move away from your work-space. Move around a little. Go outside if you can. Give your brain a rest and give your body some time to stretch.”

Create A Smooth Workflow
One of the problems in business is paperwork. It can slow down the process. And while come paperwork is necessary, a lot of times much is redundant. Also, if there too many stops and checks in your system, having one employee out who has to sign off on projects can halt everything. Examine your process and streamline. “Create a six grade work process for each job. Small businesses growth gets bottlenecked at times because every part of the business or job process has to go thru a key employee or in most cases the owner,” says Jamar Johnson, Chief Community Basketball Leagues Commissioner.. “Having a business process for each job or department allows for easier and better training of staff and it allows for employees to understand what the final objective is for that job, department, or business.”

Watch The Clock
Set time limits for each task you want to do and try to meet that goal. This can actually be fun as you are challenging yourself. “Use a timer and challenge yourself to complete your tasks on schedule. As you move forward with what you do set out an estimated time that you need to complete the task at hand,” says Martin. “Then make a game of playing beat the clock. If you gave yourself an hour, then set 2 timers – 1 for 50 minutes and another for 1 hour. When the 50-minute timer goes off, this is your countdown to completion. See what you can do to complete your task or beat your own time.”

Get Some Rest
When you?re busy, it is easy to burn the candle at both ends. But being tired will be counterproductive. It will slow you down and you will be more apt to make errors and have to redo work. “A good night’s sleep, a nap when necessary and a getaway weekend at least once a quarter will help keep your health afloat and clear your mind so you can be energized, refreshed and full of ideas and execution,” says Dorsey.