After a certain amount of time doing the same job, productivity can slow down. However, by working smarter and more efficiently, you can take back your productivity. Indeed, smart work habits will provide more time for strategic planning, thereby decreasing stress levels and exponentially increasing productivity.

Let’s look at unconventional ways to work smarter and not harder.  By following these methods you’ll feel less stressed at work.

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1. Set a Time Limit for Tasks

Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to take up the time allotted to it. Try giving yourself a limited amount of time to finish each task.  To help with this sort of task management, consider using to-do list software and following the Pomodoro Technique.

2. Say ‘No’ more often.

Mulling over decisions is a common productivity killer. Sometimes a decision is put off, and this can create additional work for someone that may not even contribute to the bottom line. Valuable workers do not hesitate to make a necessary decision and learn to say “no” when it is appropriate to do so.

3. Use Keyboard Shortcuts and Other Technology Time-Savers

Few people know the intricacies of Microsoft Office or Gmail as well as they should.  Take some time to learn the ins and outs of the software you use daily. Outlook is more than just email, and keyboard shortcuts repeatedly save time!  Here are the links to a few common tools’ keyboard shortcuts: Microsoft Office, Outlook or Gmail.

4. Meditate

Taking 10 minutes out of your day to calm your mind have been scientifically proven to help you manage stress, which leads to more productivity.  The best results come from developing a practice and sticking with it.  Check out Headspace or Calm to help get started.

5. A Well-Designed Workspace

Having two monitors at eye level and a comfortable chair that allows for good posture.  Removing clutter around your desk can keep you focused, instead of distracted.

6. Build Relationships at Work

Not only will this help employees get their job done, but it increases morale and reduces stress. Take time to get to know your colleagues at work.  Try to get a deep understanding of their role at work.  When colleagues are on your side it can help you get tasks done in the organization, with limited bottlenecks.

7. Exercise

When most of us are overwhelmed with too much work, we barely move.  We end up spending eight to eleven hours a day hunched over a computer.  Start a fitness routine and get up and walk at intervals throughout the day. Over time, you’ll find yourself feeling more energetic and completing your work in a shorter amount of time.

8. Eat (and Drink) Well

People need to eat nourishing food that does not make them feel heavy and sleepy while they are at work. Eating on a schedule keeps bodies happy and ready to go all day. Drinking lots of water throughout the day can help you feel more alert and less hungry.

9. Project Planning

Working smart requires planning everything from the to-do lists to the deliverables.  Take time in the morning to plan your one big task, that you want to accomplish and make sure you do it!  “Eat a frog a day” is the common proverb.   Also, spend time once a week reviewing all of your tasks to plan your upcoming week.

10. Ask for More Work

Believe it or not, sometimes having more work is the key to having more energy in the workplace.

Executives should ask themselves the following to “check-in” that they actually are working smarter, and not just working harder:

  • Am I following the roadmap? Am I using the methods consistently? If not, they will come into a bottleneck eventually.
  • Am I feeling stressed out during the day? If they are stressed, it is a sign that they are working too hard and not accomplishing enough for their efforts.
  • Am I motivated to continue using the tools I chose? If yes, they are already seeing a difference between their level of effort and their productivity. If not, they are obviously not reaping the benefits and should try different methods or give themselves some additional motivation.

Try to complete a self-evaluation and find some project planning tools that help you work smartly and increase your productivity.

If you’re interested in increasing your productivity join thousands of people and companies who trust Hello Focus to accomplish more every day! Built from the ground up based on leading research around productivity. It’s literally designed to help you stay productive! Click here to create an account.

Patrick Hankinson
Patrick Hankinson

I'm one of the founders of Hello Focus. Big fan of productivity, startups, and many other things.