WORKING SMART IS ALL ABOUT BEING MORE PRODUCTIVE, MORE EFFICIENT & WORKING LESS
We juggle a lot in life, whether it’s work and blogging or even work and life. Finding the perfect work life balance is the dream, but something that’s quite hard to master. I’ve already shared my tips to help you create a better work life balance (worth a read if you find yourself stressed or spending every living hour working), but one key way to create a better balance is to be more productive & efficient in the hours you do spend working. I mentioned in yesterdays post that one of the ways I manage to blog daily and have a full time career too is by ‘working smart’. Working smart is all about spending less time doing things, by working more efficiently and more effectively, it’s all about maximising your productivity.
Working smart is great, it’s effective, and it’s so important when you’re trying to create a better balance between work and life, but it takes some time to master, as there are quite literally tons of things that can cause sistraction & affect your productivity. And that’s where todays blog post comes in.
I want to help you work smart, work more productively, more efficiently, and as a result work less but still achieve what you want. And the first step to working smart, is ditching distractions.
5 DISTRACTIONS YOU NEED TO DITCH TO HELP YOU WORK SMART
Turn your phone off
Mobile phones make procrastination a hobby. How often do you find yourself distracted by your phone, whether thats checking emails, scrolling your news feed, browsing instagram, updating the news, texting, snap-chatting … i mean whatever your smart phone tipple of choice, there’s no denying it’s a convenient distraction from getting on with some serious work.
So if you want to work smart, then you need to focus, and that means leaving your phone alone. Dedicate 30 minutes to phone free working – you;ll find yourself focussed, in the zone and far more efficient.
Stop checking your emails
Emails are a work task that often forms a convenient excuse to not actually STARTING to do that job you needed to do. Emails are 24/7, they don’t and won’t stop, so the worst thing you can do is constantly check your mail, or put off starting that job until you’ve got through your ever flowing email load. Emails are an excuse, a distraction that affects your focus.
Dedicate 30 minutes to clearing & responding to critical emails before you start your task. Once 30 minutes is up, physically shut down your email and do not check it again until your task is finished, or you’ve made enough progress to take a break.
Don’t just plougj on through
When we’re busy and stretched time wise, the first thing we ditch is breaks. And you know what, it’s a school boy error. By ploughing on with work you get tired, demotivated, exhausted & distracted. My advice is to force yourself a regular break, whether it’s getting a cup of tea or a glass of water, popping outside for some lunch, or even taking some time to do exercise. A 5 – 20 minute break is all you need to re-energise & get back to your optimum productivity & efficiency. Chances are you’ll get more done, more quickly by taking a break, than you will if you just sit and force yourself to try and concentrate.
Hold off day dreaming
Whilst day dreaming is excellent for creativity and ideas generation (read all about it here), it can be a huge distraction if you need to get some work produced or content created. When we get tired or relaxed our subconscious mind is more active, and whilst sometimes that’s great (especially if you’re a creative) when you have a hefty work task to deal with, having a brain full of thoughts is a huge distraction.
My tips, write down all your thoughts, all the things you need to do which are clouding your mind in a list. Create a to do list capturing everything that’s on your mind. Not only is it a helpful check list, it also means you’ve cleared your mind, and are more able to focus on the task in hand.
Ditch your A-tude
When we’re stuck inside, at a dull desk, working on something we’d rather not, with a big deadline dooming over our heads, it’s quite natural to take a negative mindset on your current situation and wish you were somewhere else and doing something different. Whilst this thought process is common & in some ways expected, the negativity doesn’t help you work smart, in fact it slows you down & stops you pouring all your positive energy into the task in hand.
One way to avoid the ‘I’d rather be …’ conundrum is to make your working process more enjoyable, more inspiring and more motivating. Whether that’s creating a work space you feel comfortable and excited to work at, finding a way to work more productively in the space you have, or actually finding more pleasurable places to go and work from. I personally love to work in cafes or social hubs (i’m a member of Shoreditch House group and they offer great inspiring work spaces in their houses), I find the hustle and bustle comforting (like I’m not missing out, which allows me to focus more) and in fact I often find that when my surroundings are inspiring and interesting, I actually work harder and more efficiently. If you’re blogging full time or working as a freelancer this is even more important, finding a space where you can comfortably work, without distraction, but in a space that motivates and inspires you is essential.
So avoid the distraction of wishing you were elsewhere by creating or finding work spaces that inspire you and are set up to allow an efficient working process. Working smart is about finding the optimum working set up for you – more often than not it means NOT sitting at your office desk.
So there you have it, my top advice to help you work smart and avoid distractions. Working productively and efficiently is really important when you’re trying to create a healthier work life balance, so finding your optimum work smart set up is key.
Another thing that I think really helps you focus & get in the zone to work is being dressed appropriately … ditching the pyjamas. This is especially true if you work from home or blog full time from a home office. The temptation is to sit and work in bed in your pj’s all day, but the reality is not being ‘ready’ to work is quite a big distraction in itself. I find a comfortable but ‘office appropriate’ outfit is enough to get me in the zone and boost my productivity – today’s’ outfit is a classic work ensemble for me. Comfy, worn jeans, a chic blouse, a classic long coat, and a pair of stilettos which immediately adds a #bossgirl twist to a work look.
When are you most productive? Do you find certain work space set ups inspire you to work harder?