By Nico Strydom
In many respects the days of fixed office hours are something of the past and employers expect employees to be available at all times, even if they are not in their offices.
This requires employees to work smarter, not harder. There are a thousand things to do but only so much time. The most important thing therefore is to polish your time-management skills.
If you do not manage your time effectively, it only means that you will have to work harder. By coordinating tasks and activities you can work smarter and more effectively. It will also help if you prepare today for tomorrow.
Draw up a must-do list but limit it to only a few things and prioritise them from most urgent and important to least important. This will help you to be more productive and feel less anxious. Focus on these tasks first before moving on to less important tasks.
Rather focus on what you achieve than the time you spend on it. You may think that you should work more hours but it does not necessarily mean that you are going to get more done. If you focus on results rather than on the time spent on it, the way in which you work will also change.
Communication is also very important for working smarter and not harder. Make sure that you listen actively because then you will not have to ask questions again later on and that you can immediately do what is expected from you.
Routine can also help to finalise tasks quickly and effectively. When you have a routine you will be able to finalise tasks faster because you do not first have to think about it but can do it automatically. This will then enable you to focus on other important tasks and issues.
Set goals for yourself for the workday. This will help you to maintain your momentum and stay positive and to improve your productivity eventually. Make sure that you are properly organised. If everything is in place, it will mean that you don’t have to go through papers or files for something you need.
Do not try to do a thousand things at the same time. If you try to do too many things in one go, it actually means that you are constantly shifting your focus from one thing to another. Focus on one thing at a time and finish it.
It is also important to take a break and to know that you will fail occasionally, but make sure that you learn something from this and do not be afraid to ask for help.
Learning Hub: https://learn.g2.com/work-smarter-not-harder
The Balance Careers: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-work-smart-9-steps-to-a-more-productive-work-day-2164686