Work Smarter Not Harder – 4 Steps

Often I hear the statement work smarter not harder.  An easy statement to make much harder to apply.  The Pareto principle states that 20% of what we do achieves 80% of the results.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew actually, what the 20% of activity was.  Each of us are only given 24 hours a day.  So why can some people achieve great results and others are just getting by?  Here are four things to consider when focusing on working smarter.

Know your end result desired. The fastest way there is a straight line.  There is no line if you don’t know where you want to end up.  Do you know what you want?  Stop take time to discover your heart’s desire! Why waste time on tasks you don’t care about?  Do you want to Increase your sales? Or strengthen your client relationships? Improve your knowledge base to improve the quality of your service? Or on the personal side – Do you desire to be more healthy to increase your energy? Improve your quality of life my spending time with family? How does this action fit in the big picture?  Work smart by choosing only those actions that will deliver the results you desire!

Do the Right things!  Each day Make a list of 5 to 10 things you want to accomplish.

  • Prioritize them.
    • Does it need to be done? What happens if it doesn’t get done?  Sometimes we think we should do certain things.  Take filing for instance.  File paid invoices by the month or year you paid them.  Keep for tax records.  Your accounting software can tell you what month they were paid -if you ever have to find it.
    • What will bring the greatest result? What is the very best use of your unique talents and strengths?
    • Can you delegate others important tasks but not best suited for you?

Then do the first 3 tasks each day.  Work smart by choosing the tasks that you can deliver high quality!  

Keep in peak condition.  To improve your chances of success set goals or determine what you want when you are in peak condition. Having your mind, your energy and your confidence in tiptop shape will improve your results.  Making that cold call when you are hungry, angry, lonely and tired is a disaster waiting to happen.  Assess where you are at? Rested? Calm and positive mind? Optimistic? Do what you need to do to energize your body, settle your mind and inspire your spirit.  It may be take a nap, stop and meditate, take a walk, listen to music, call a friend, say a prayer, whatever works for you. Work smarter by being your best self.  

Block time to achieve your priority tasks.  Time waits for no one!  It is easy to get distracted – television, gossip, Facebook, email, people, etc.  Set aside a portion of each day to work on your priority tasks.  Depending on your attention span, block 60 to 90 minutes time blocks during your peak times during the day.  Then protect it!  Find a space to block out the distractions – turn off your email notices, shut the door and put the phone on do not disturb.  Work smarter by allocating time to get your priorities done.

To me working smarter means – doing the important tasks that utilize my unique talents when I am at my best within the time I allocated to achieve my heart’s desires!

Mary Guldan Lindstrom, CPA

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