How to maximise your day and work smarter, not harder

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images
Isn’t this the dream — only working set hours, and achieving more in return? That way we can spend our time doing what we love and worrying less about work

All work and no play will not make you very happy. But also, as focused career women, we understand the feeling of just wanting to get things done. But leading a successful career doesn’t have to make your social life a barren wasteland. Follow these tips to work smarter, not faster, so you can get the best of both worlds. 

 

Delegate more tasks

Letting go of responsibilities can feel like an uncomfortable skill to grasp, but CEOs who delegate tasks generate 33% more revenue and are less likely to experience burnout or decision fatigue, according to a study from Scale Time. Utilising the power of your team will lighten your workload, while giving the others the opportunity to grow and develop. 

Use the Zeigarnik Effect

Sometimes, the thought of a task is actually much worse than just knuckling down and completing it – this is known as the Zeigarnik Effect. The Zeigarnik Effect believes that not completing a task creates mental tension, and therefore keeps it at the forefront of your mind. So, if you take the first step to start a task you’ve been dodging, according to the Zeigarnik Effect, you’ll be more inclined to complete it.

Block your days

Organising your days into blocks will allow you to tackle certain tasks in chunks, which will increase productivity. For example, schedule your meetings back-to-back to avoid those annoying 30-minute or hour gaps, or allocate time in your diary to tackle certain tasks, such as researching or writing. Likewise, dedicate time to respond to emails, to avoid being drawn into back and forth conversations.

Start earlier

Have you ever noticed that you get so much more done when you’re not replying to emails, or getting asked questions by colleagues? If you start the day before others, you’re less likely to be distracted by them, allowing you to crack on with the tasks that you need to complete. Of course, this only works for those with the privilege of flexitime, as you’ll want to finish your day earlier. 

Use a Pomodoro timer

The Pomodoro Technique may not work for everyone, but it’s worth giving it a try. The idea is that you will work for 25 minutes, and then a 5 minute break to increase productivity by expanding focus for set periods of time, and limiting the amount of long breaks needed. Timers can be self managed or downloaded on a smartphone.

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