I came across a nice article on the The Creativity Post blog with 21 tips for working smarter, not harder. The tips are nice but I thought it would be interesting to see how I’ve applied them in my life.
1. Complete most important tasks first. Yes, I do this, in fact I generally only have 1 or 2 tasks that I write down as my objectives for the day. I will fill in others from memory or my informal to-do lists if I have time and energy
2. Learn to say “no”. Yes, absolutely, as I only work an average of 10 hours a week, I’m always saying no. Although this is happening less, because as people understand my limitations they only ask if they REALLY want something, so increasingly I find myself saying yes, which makes a nice change
3. Sleep at least 7-8 hours. Yes, definitely and I track it with fitbit which I wear on my wrist at night, so I know whether it was 7-8 hours of quality sleep as well
4. Devote your entire focus to the task at hand. Yes, mostly, I try and work in environments that are optimised for different types of task, but poor for others. Discussions in comfy chairs away from distractions, reading in cafes, creation in front of multiple monitors in the home office etc.
5. Get an early start. Yes, recently, as I’ve been feeling better and adjusting to my meds I try and get up at 7, mediate and then leave the house about 7:30 for a walk or reading in a cafe.
6. Don’t allow unimportant details to drag you down. Yes, mostly, but I can get distracted and annoyed either with work, home issues or pain/brain fog
7. Turn key tasks into habits. Yes, absolutely. I have a lot of habits that I track daily, they remind me of where I want to prioritise my time. I also track all the recurring jobs like washing my bedding, getting the car serviced etc so that I don’t neglect them.
8. Be conscientious of amount of TV/Internet/gaming time. Yes, mostly, I don’t play computer games, rarely browse the web for fun, but I do watch an hour, sometimes two of TV a day and spend a few minutes a day on Facebook and Twitter.
9. Delineate a time limit in which to complete task. Yes, I almost always time box a task. I hate it when a task drags on more than a week and try and break it up into sub-tasks that take less than an afternoon.
10. Leave a buffer-time between tasks. Yes, I try and get up and walk around, do some chores, chat to someone between tasks/meetings
11. Don’t think of the totality of your to-do list. Yes, definitely, because I don’t really keep a to-do list. I’ve tried many times but it’s a waste of time as it just grows out of control. I make a note of the most important things I need to do each day and remember, or forget, the rest
12. Exercise and eat healthily. Yes, it depends how my health is but I try and get in 10,000 steps a day, sometimes in lots of short hobbles about. I try to eat well, unless I’m feeling unwell, then I comfort eat a bit.
13. Do less. Yes, definitely, when you work 10 hours a week you have to do a lot less. I don’t attend recurring meetings, audio/video briefings that have a transcript, do presentations more than once, update conference calls etc. I try to keep my life simple so I don’t have much maintenance to do.
14. Utilize weekends, just a little bit. Yes, kind of, I do work reading, listen to podcasts, process emails and plan priorities every day, including holidays. But I don’t do real WORK 3 days a week
15. Create organizing systems. Yes, mostly, although I don’t over organise. I scan stuff rather than filing it, use search rather than store things in folders, that kind of thing
16. Do something during waiting time. Yes, I play. talk or read
17. Lock yourself in. No, I don’t do this, I don’t force myself to do things that I’m not up to doing. I’m pretty motivated generally, but when I’m not there’s a reason, normally it’s my body telling me to slow down
18. Commit to your plan to do something. No, see above
19. Batch related tasks together. Yes, I accumulate small tasks to do, for example videos to watch on the exercise bike, actions arising as a result of articles I’ve read, work admin etc
20. Find time for stillness. Yes, definitely, I walk, meditate, cycle, listen to music, sunbathe in the conservatory, relax in the bath reading.
21. Eliminate the non-essential. Yes, I’ve eliminated most busy work from my life, but I do plenty of non-essential stuff, playing games, writing this blog …
Bonus. Enjoyment should always be the goal. Work can be play. So true