Do you feel you’re working harder these days? If so, you’re not alone. Despite the hopes of pioneering economist John Maynard Keynes, that we’d all be doing 15-hour weeks by now, the very opposite is true.
Technology has been deemed to be a liberator, but it seems to bring an extra workload of its own – all that social media, all those emails, all that online access 24/7 – so the fact is we are working more, not less, than we were even two decades ago.
Every five years, the Government funds ‘work intensification’ surveys. These reveal the percentage of employees who “strongly agree” their job requires that they work “very hard” increased from 30% in 1992 to 46% in 2017. The percentage who say they work to tight deadlines went up from 53% to 60% and those working at “very high speed” for at least three quarters of the time increased from 23% to 45%.
But there are only so many hours in the day, and we have to fit a lot in, not just work. We need time to eat, to sleep, time for leisure and time to spend with the family. So how do we help to tackle this upward trend in working hours but still remain as productive, if not more so?
The answer lies in working smarter, not harder, so here are ten tips from the Rombourne team.
10 Ways To Work Smarter Rather Than Harder
1. Get Into A Routine
If you are organised and your working day is structured, then you will be more productive. Dipping in and out of tasks, flitting from one to another, is always more time-consuming, because each time you take up a new task, you need a refresher on the stage you were at.
2. Be Prepared
Like the Scouts and Guides, preparation is all, so for your work it really pays to get ready the night before, for the forthcoming day. Half-an-hour’s prep before you clock off will really set you in good stead for the following day, and save you time.
3. Prioritise Tasks
Many of us are tempted to put off the trickier, lengthier work and go for the small wins first. But that inevitably means we’re turning our attention to those harder tasks towards the end of the day, when we’re tired. Set a priority order for your workload and stick to it.
4. Set Your Goals
Decide what you want to get done in the day, week or month. Be realistic, and in this way, you will be able to achieve your aims. As you tick off those goals and tasks, you’ll get a real spring in your step, and feel sense of achievement, building a momentum which carries you into the next task.
5. Be A Tidy Worker
Make sure your work station – whether home or in the office – is organised and tidy. This avoids you wasting time hunting down papers.
6. Manage Your Time
Think about how long tasks will take you and allocate time to them. Block time out in your diary, and don’t get distracted. You might opt to check and answer emails only two or three times a day, at set times. This will certainly make you work smarter.
7. Take Regular Breaks
These aren’t time wasting, they are positively good for you. They can be hard to factor in, but they will really pay dividends. When you take your break, leave your desk, go for a coffee or a walk around outside, then you will come back and start again feeling refreshed.
8. Meetings, Meetings, Meetings
These are part and parcel of business, but we all know that they are a real time-suck. Be efficient with your time in meetings. Stick to the topic in hand, and try to cut the waffle. Some people find standing up is a great way to conduct meetings, as attendees are more focused on the discussion and less likely to stray off point.
9. Look Into Automation
Tech is great these days for automating processes, and this can save so much time. What in your business can you automate? Can you automate emails, invoicing, customer communications, schedules or reminders? It really is well worth investing in software which will ultimately save you time and help you work smarter.
10. Look After Yourself
We only get one chance in life, so it is really important to be kind to yourself. Take care of your physical and mental health, because by doing so you’ll inevitably become a more efficient worker.
We hope some of these ideas strike a chord, and if you follow them, you’ll find yourself as productive but less stressed with work. It takes time, but stick to these rules and you’ll soon become a smarter worker.
At Rombourne, we love helping our clients to get smart with their businesses by providing exceptional serviced office accommodation in Bristol, Cardiff, Newport and Swindon – all ideal locations for organisations of all sizes, from one to many. For more information, please get in touch.