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How To Work Faster And Smarter

How To Work Faster And Smarter

Do you want to work faster and smarter? It can seem like an impossible task when your to-do list is as long as your arm and the work is still piling up, but the reality is that often the common methods we choose when working are not the most productive ones.

Check out 10 tips to help you to work smarter and faster.

1. Avoid Multitasking

Although a small amount of people are great at multitasking, for most people multitasking just reduces efficiency. Doing two tasks at once means you’re more likely to make little mistakes, as your brain is jumping from task to task. Focus on one task and fully complete it before moving on to the next one to produce better quality work in the same amount of time – or less!

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2. Turn Off Your Non-Essential Technology

Nowadays technology is a huge part of most people’s working day, but it can really slow you down. When are you most productive during your working day? Whether it is first thing in the morning or early in the afternoon, schedule two hours to put your phone on silent and switch off your email notifications.
You can ring and email people back once the time is over, but during that time you will work faster because you chose to only focus on your work.

3. Shut The Door While You Work

Many companies have an open door policy at work to encourage openness. However, if you want to work faster, close your door for at least a few hours during the day. Interruptions and distractions are much more likely to happen if the door is open, so cut out the temptation if you want to have an extra productive day.

4. Create A Personalized Structure

Most people tend to work faster and smarter if they have a structure. Remember that everyone is different; something that works well for your boss may not work as well for you.

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Think about when you are at your most productive, and try to plan your working day around that time. Remember to plan responding to calls and emails, too; most people simply do this throughout the day, slowing down their work and making themselves less efficient.

5. Set A Finish Time

If you know you will be leaving the office at 6, it will help you work more efficiently until then. Knowing you have a deadline will help you to prioritize tasks, as well as making you less likely to procrastinate.

6. Pre-Plan Breaks

Taking short breaks helps you to stay focused so that you work faster and smarter. If you don’t schedule them into your day, you can end up taking breaks that are too long, or not taking any at all, which can result in you becoming stressed or working to a lower standard.
Try to spend your break productively – stretch your legs and make a cup of tea, rather than logging onto Facebook.

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7. Remember Some Tasks Are More Important Than Others

Many people feel like they have put too much effort into a meaningless task at work at least once. Try to remember this when you decide how important each of your jobs are; some are career-changing and some will never be noticed.

If a task only takes 10 minutes, don’t try to make it amazing and spend half an hour on it – it won’t become any more important. Instead, focus on the tasks that you know matter.

8. Set A Bedtime And Keep To It

As well as a work schedule, having a sleep schedule for the days you work will help you to work faster and smarter. You will work more efficiently if you have slept well, so set a bed time that means you get enough sleep, and turn off the internet on your phone so you stick to it.

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9. Keep Your Desk And Laptop Clutter Free

The less clutter you have, the less stress you will feel. This especially applies to work when your stress levels are often higher. Keep a clear desktop and desk to make it easier for you to find anything you need, so you don’t have to waste time and you can keep a clear head.

10. Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

Planning ahead and making sure you have everything you need will help to save you time and help you to work faster. Before you start your working day, make sure your phone and laptop are charged, and that you have all of the equipment you need. Having to look for a pencil, or charge your laptop could take quarter of an hour out of your day, and you may struggle to refocus on work afterwards.

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Last Updated on December 17, 2018

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

We live in a time of productivity overload.

Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

    Is this you?

    Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

    When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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    Take a deep breath/change your body posture

    When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

    Focus on right now

    Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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    Take Action

    Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

    Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

    Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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    yoga-422196_1280
      Relax and enjoy the moment

      Stop feeling guilty

      Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

      Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

      Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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