The COVID-19 pandemic has been an experiment in adopting new ways of working. Many people are working longer hours and pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion to get things done. Learning to work smarter – not harder – reduces stress and fatigue and can make you more effective and productive.

Here are six top tips for getting more done in less time.

1. Use productivity tools

Productivity tools like Toggl, MyLifeOrganized, and Remember The Milk make managing time and tasks much easier and less complicated. Take a look at the Best Time Management Apps of 2021 and see what meets your needs. These tools can help keep you focused, organise your tasks, and eliminate distractions from your workspace and your mind.

2. Use your phone
Do you really need to send that email? Sometimes it’s better to go offline, pick up the phone and talk directly to a person. It saves time and enables decisions to be made quickly. A phone call is also helpful when questions have to be answered, when something complex has to be explained, or when the matter is really urgent.

3. Failure happens

The pressure to perform over the past two years has been enormous. People fear losing their jobs, but this fear can affect your health by increasing stress and causing physical symptoms that make it harder to focus on work. Understand that mistakes happen; you will fail, but you can move forward. Managing fear of failure makes us more likely to take on tasks that can make us more visible to managers and can result in rewards.

4. Be concise
In a world of remote or hybrid work, long meetings, emails and phone calls can waste a lot of time. Working smarter means having the ability to ask for what you need, or discuss an important issue concisely, without rambling. To be concise, you need to ask the right questions. This makes conversations more productive, and cuts meeting time down to a minimum. Plan ahead and make a list of the questions you need answers to. This will save you time, allowing you to home in on the important work.

5. Keep on learning

Ongoing learning should be part of everyone’s life plan. Look at where your skills lie and where you need to make improvements. Talk to mentors and people in your network to find out more about how to beef up your skills. Read, read, and read more. Keeping up to date on trends and developments will equip you with knowledge you did not have before, making it easier to work smarter.

6. Take care of you
Don’t work smarter and harder. Taking care of your body and mind is key when you want to work smarter, not harder. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and time out for yourself and your relationships will keep you engaged and productive and will keep your physical and mental health in good shape, no matter what lies ahead.



[Photo by roby1960 on Adobe Stock]