Sometimes I feel like my To Do list is never-ending and I’m always looking for ways to work smarter and be more productive.
As soon as I start to work through my lists of things to do for work, home and the family, more tasks and chores are added.
That said though, I have found some ways to work smarter that help me prioritise and get things done quicker and in a much calmer way.
Here are my 5 ways to work Smarter:
1. Get a good night’s sleep
If you know you have a lot to do the following day, or that you need a clear mind, then go to bed early.
I’ve written more here about how to relax before going to bed and for me, it makes all the difference.
If I haven’t had sleep, my mind is foggy and I struggle to focus and get things done.
2. Declutter your surroundings
I find that when I’m working from home, having a tidy desk makes for a tidy mind. I feel more in control and on top of everything and it’s nice to have a blank slate to work from.
When I finish work each day, I tidy my desk and put everything away so that the next day when I start work, everything is ready to go.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know how much I love the KonMari approach to keeping things tidy. Rather than have a house full to the brim of ‘stuff’, I’ve started to clear out and discard the unnecessary items. Everything that if left are items we love and use.
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3. Minimise distractions
Once you’ve set the scene, next you need to minimise any other distractions that might come along and disrupt you.
So turn your phone off, or at least turn your notifications off. This will allow you to have a clear focus on what needs to be done without hearing your phone pinging and pulling you away from the task in hand.
Whether you’re doing some work, the laundry or writing a paper, try and close your mind to everything else that is happening in the world. Turn off the TV, put your phone in a different room and shut the door. Physically block out anything that might distract you.
3. Plan your week early
I find planning on a Sunday morning for the week ahead has improved my productivity so much.
I love going to bed with a clear mind on a Sunday night and feel excited when I get up on a Monday as I know exactly what needs to be done.
I’ve designed a lovely Weekly Planner and you can download it for free here! I also film weekly planning videos and you can watch them here.
4. Know what your Priorities are
Do you cherry pick from your To Do list and do the easiest or the most fun tasks first? If you do, you’ll probably find you spend so much time on those tasks that the important priorities are neglected.
I find it much better to prioritise my To Do list and put the urgent, most time-consuming or least ‘fun’ tasks at the top. I feel such a sense of achievement when I’ve ticked those off. It makes moving on to the fun stuff even more satisfying. My mind isn’t being weighed down with the harder tasks that are still waiting for me.
5. Take regular breaks
It’s so important for your physical and mental well-being to take breaks to recharge. Sometimes, I find myself sitting at my desk for hours. This isn’t great for my productivity levels and certainly not good for my back!
If you work at a desk, try to move as much as you can regularly throughout the day. Grab a drink from the kitchen or break up the working day with some chores. You’ll be even more productive by doing this and move more at the same time!
Whilst I haven’t tried this myself, my good friend Aby at You Baby Me Mummy swears by the Pomodoro method. She works in 25 minute blocks and then takes a 5 minute break. She talks more about it here and shares 24 more productivity hacks and a free cheat sheet so check it out.
What are your ways to work smarter? I’d love for you to share your tips in the comments below!
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