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11 Ingenious Proven Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder
While "work smart, not hard" is the current catchphrase, when it comes to implementation of the same, it takes a lot of effort on your part. How to work smart must have always been a question on your mind, but you may not have found the desired answer. MissionSelf will help you stay on top of your work by working smartly and take charge of your life.
MissionSelf Staff
Last Updated: Mar 2, 2018
"The combination of hard work and smart work is efficient work."
- Robert Half
Of course there is no substitute for hard work, but it is smart work that can accelerate your career and take you to new heights. While hard work means "do but don't think", smart work means "think first and only then do". Working smartly helps you save time and complete your work effectively. It also means making the correct strategy and following a disciplined action to implement it. On the other hand, hard work includes the efforts taken to convert a strategy into action.

In today's world, it is essential that hard work is complemented with smart work, in order to become successful. You must have seen how smart working guys easily surpass the hardworking guys in the rat race. Though smart working needs well-planned and strategic actions, a person can incorporate it by observation and practice.
How to Work Smarter, Not Harder
Plan and Prioritize
Planning list clipboard
In today's times, when tasks at hand are too many, one can get overwhelmed by the to-do list. However, if you systematically plan the time allotted for every task, you will be able to complete it as per the schedule. When you are scheduling tasks, ensure that you are giving priority to them according to their importance and urgency. You can also stack related tasks together. The best way to plan tasks is to write them down, mark the ones that are urgent, and complete them first, before moving on to other tasks. Try your level best to complete the tasks in the day. However, if you are not able to do so due to some unforeseen reasons, carry them forward to the list of the next day.
Delegate Work
Business people working
Many people make the mistake of projecting themselves as Mr./Ms. Do-it-all. Come to think of it, if there is a long list which awaits completion, trying to execute the tasks single-handedly will take up a lot of time. It will not only delay the tasks, but their efficiency may also get affected. Instead of getting appreciated for the work, you may be reprimanded for the results. Hence, it is best to delegate the work to your co-workers at the right time.

This will help you concentrate on the tasks that are more important, and your co-workers will also get an opportunity to do something challenging. Delegation of tasks to co-workers will also improve your relation with them.
Learn to Say No
Business people meeting
If you are good at executing work without toeing the deadline, there is a possibility that every important work may get routed to you. If you have the time and capability to finish all tasks or delegate them, then it is okay to accept. However, if you are expected to make unrealistic job deliveries where you will be burdened with loads of work, you should decline it by citing appropriate reasons. Sometimes, bosses knowingly or unknowingly delegate a pile of tasks on you, irrespective of your core competencies or existing workload.

If you cannot complete a task, as you are busy with some other work, it will be better if you politely decline, instead of accepting it. You must put your foot down firmly, wherever you feel your interest is getting compromised.
Be Social
A man doing multiple works
Gone are the days when one would complete his work and go home without interacting with anyone. In today's workplace, you must interact with your colleagues on a regular basis. It will help you make some genuine friends who will help you out during problems. Not only this, it will also keep you abreast with the grapevine in the office. Many tasks are interdependent and interdisciplinary, where people from other departments will also be involved.

Unless you are on good talking terms with them, their cooperation may not come easily. Also, it is important that you have an image of a reliable, positive, helpful, and smart person. The best way to attain this is keeping cordial and social relations at your workplace.
Hone Your Skills
In today's workplace scenario, you must prove your worth by undertaking multiple tasks simultaneously and completing them within the time schedule. For this, you may require multiple skill sets. You can undertake professional training in order to gain managerial know-how or undertake certificate courses in your field. It is essential that you have updated knowledge about every aspect of your job profile. Also, try to take up new challenges for your career progression. If there is a problem in your company, offer your contribution in finding a solution. Even if your solution is not implemented, your efforts will be noticed. Try to learn about the various processes in your organization, and stay informed. Being able to execute different jobs will make you reliable and indispensable for the organization.
Never Procrastinate
As you know, time never waits for anyone. If you while away time, even before you blink, it will be gone. There are times when we think that a job that is less urgent can be postponed to a date in the near future. However, you are being taken over by the same feeling of laziness again. This will make the task reflect in the pending sheet, and your boss may scold you for the same. If you want to work smarter, complete more tasks than what are allotted to you, before the deadline. This will create a favorable impression on your boss. If you procrastinate, you would come across as a lazy and disinterested person.
Improve Your Processes
Many times, you keep following the old processes, which may be rendered redundant with time. Especially with the advancement in technology, you must evaluate the efficiency of your processes from time to time. A simple example would be that of creating a monthly newsletter. If you alter the number of authorities approving the same before it is sent, or have an e-sanction in place, it will save a lot of your valuable time. Also, the newsletter will be sent quickly and within the stipulated time. It is important that as a smart professional, you review all the processes and undertake continuous improvement to enhance productivity. This will also help you create an image of a responsible employee who believes in working for the growth of an organization.
Undertake Impactful Tasks
In order to make a smarter choice, you must not undertake each and every task. You should stick to a task, which will give you maximum exposure as an intelligent and diligent professional. Instead of completing 20 different tasks, which go unnoticed, you must complete 2, which will highlight your efficiency and put you in the limelight. As I mentioned earlier, if your boss is running out of time to complete a certain task, volunteer to execute it for him. As you aided in finishing the task when it mattered the most, you will be looked at as a capable and smart employee. If you focus your time and efforts in completing many minor tasks, which do not add significant value to the company, there are chances that your work will be overlooked. So, always undertake significant tasks, which will contribute towards your career progression.
No Distractions at Work
It is very easy to get distracted while you are working. It may be anything―a colleague coming over to your desk for a chat, or you calling your best friend as she just changed her Facebook status from "single" to "committed" (more time is wasted if the status changes the other way round!), browsing unwanted websites, playing games, shopping online, etc. The point is that when you are distracted, it reflects on your performance. You should know how to smartly avoid distractions and concentrate on finishing the job at hand. It takes focused action and thoughts to ignore distractions. For example, you can dedicate a small break for browsing through Facebook for a while, instead of spending hours on it. Distractions will affect your work and impact your standing in the company.
Be Result-oriented
No matter how much you have slogged for a task, it will not matter if it doesn't rake in the moolah or add value for the organization. For example, in an Ad agency, it does not matter how creative a concept is, what matters is how it helped in increasing revenues of the product. Similarly, you should have a conscious result-oriented approach in executing every task. You must keep in mind how the task will impact the organization's growth and execute it accordingly. If a marketing strategy is not working for your organization, no one will take notice of the fact that it has taken several hours from your side. Even before you analyze, plan, and execute a task, you should understand the required result and work accordingly.
Speed Up Your Work
It is important to finish your tasks at the speed of lightning; however, you have to achieve this without compromising on quality. It is important that you follow a plan, which you have decided, but at the same time, it is essential that you complete the task at the earliest. Many times, sanction-related work takes up a lot of time. When you plan your work, you must keep a buffer for it, and complete other tasks simultaneously. This will save your time. If you are committed to a foolproof plan, you will be able to win the race against time. The key to smart work is assessing and delivering exactly what is required in a short span of time. This will establish you as an efficient professional. You can create organizing systems with the help of technology, which will help you in sorting your emails, tasks, files, etc.
Tips
✦ Keep innovating in your work, and raise its standards.
✦ Make optimal utilization of all resources.
✦ Use your social intelligence to interact with people.
✦ Understand the job requirements, and deliver accordingly.
✦ Exercise your body and mind.
✦ Clean your cluttered and messy desk and computer to get information easily.
✦ Be flexible, and change according to the world.
✦ Avoid rework wherever possible.
✦ Observe people who work smartly.
If you implement all the above-stated tips, you will definitely be able to work smartly. Apart from this, you should be able to communicate effectively with others, and know how to get work done from others. Also, it is not necessary that you reinvent the wheel every time there is a task; you can also take shortcuts, provided you are able to complete the work accurately. Note that smart work will not work alone; it will have to be aided by hard work for achieving success. What is more important is to be driven by passion in whichever way you decide to complete your work.
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Businessman Pushing Bicycle And Going Home
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