The work philosophy “Work Smarter, Not Harder” has been around for a long time. As an accountant, I practiced it religiously. As a writer, I never thought to apply those principles I knew and loved, to my creative efforts until this past year.
If you are interested is managing your time more productively and as a result making your efforts more successful, I strongly suggest they check out the following points. They are valuable tips and apply easily to the writing profession.
ELIMINATE EVERY “EGO” COMMITMENT: We all do things that have more to do with ego than results. Think about things you do mainly because they make you look important, smart, or cool. If it provides no other real value, why do it. Remember the best glory is reflected, not projected.
DON’T STRUGGLE FOR THAT EXTRA EFFORT: Think about an activity you already do fairly well. Are you struggling to do it even better? Maybe you just have an overly competitive nature. What’s important is to weigh your input with the actual outcome. A small gain can be hugely disproportionate to the time and effort needed to attain it. Sometimes “good” truly is good enough, especially if being better takes up your time without adding any value.
SET TOUGH SCHEDULES: Deadlines establish parameters, but typically NOT in a good way. We instinctively adjust our effort and our activities to use the time permitted.
Pick a task, set a tough time limit, and stick to it. Necessity is the mother of creativity. You’ll figure out how to make it work. Tasks should take only as long as they NEED to take, or the time you decide they should take, again based solely on value.
Try this: Decide you’ll only spend 10 minutes a day on social media. The first day you’ll get frustrated because you won’t get everything done you needed to get done. The second day you’ll instinctively skip a few feeds, because they’re not really important. The third day you’ll re-prioritize. By the fifth day, you’ll know 10 minutes is plenty of time to do what you need to do. You’ll begin to understand how much time you spent gaining nothing.
DELEGATE AND OUTSOURCE: Successful people have two or three things they do very well and those activities are often their source of wealth. Using their time to their advantage, they strip away all the less valuable tasks by either giving them to someone else to do, or eliminating it.
It’s important you put a specific value on your own time. What are you worth per hour? Don’t sell yourself short – base the amount on your success. If you’re worth $100/hour, then getting the kid down the street to spend an hour cutting your lawn for $10 is a $90 gain for you. The grass got cut, and you kept that hour of valuable time. If you think of it that way, and act accordingly, your productivity will skyrocket.
DON’T MULTITASK: Multitasking is the ability to do multiple things badly, all at the same time. Plenty of research says multitasking doesn’t work, because it doesn’t work. Whether you agree or not, I’m sure there is at least one thing you do that is so important (besides driving), you should never allow a distraction or a loss of focus.
I’ve added some comments from “10 Unusual Ways To Be Exceptionally Productive” by Jeff Haden to my own experience and hopefully these few points were helpful. It gives you an idea of how many successful people make their limited time extremely productive. As it said in the first line, we all need to WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER.