You hear it all the time: "Work smart, not hard."
At the same time, being a hard worker is considered a desirable trait in an individual. And when you're an entrepreneur, it's a must-have trait for success. But sometimes, working too much can lead to burn out. Instead, you should try to find ways that allow you to get both the same quality and quantity of work done, without running yourself into the ground. Here are a few tips.
1. Take More Breaks. This may seem counterproductive but, by allowing yourself to take several small breaks during a lengthy task, you can stay focused and allow your body to renew its energy and attention span.
2. Create a To-Do List. This not only keeps your mind free from cluttered thoughts but also makes you less likely to forget to finish something or meet a deadline. Try writing the list the night before. This way, you can figure out how much you need to get done, which can be helpful when scheduling your day. Plus, it can give your mind a rest. You won't be obsessing over the possibility of forgetting a task when you're trying to sleep.
3. Create a To-Don't List. This may seem odd, but it can help you stay on task. List things like "Stay away from games" or "No phone calls." You can create a new to-don't list each day, in addition to the list of things you want to accomplish. This exercise can help keep you focused on the most important tasks in a given day and keep you from wasting time.
4. Keep a Pen and Paper Close at Hand. For entrepreneurs, there are many responsibilities, and with those responsibilities, there comes a great deal of things that need to be remembered. Instead of trying to keep it all in your head, jot things down on paper. Keep track of names, phone numbers, dates, deadlines, and odd jobs that need to be completed. You'll be amazed at how efficient you can be when you can refer back to written information, and your brain is no longer a cluttered mess of random thoughts.
5. Delegate. This can be hard for people who are starting their dream business. It's your baby. You love it, and you want everything to be perfect. But you're not a super hero, and there are others who will want your business to succeed just as much as you do. The key is to surround yourself with and employ people who have the same vision for your business that you do. Then you can feel more comfortable with passing important duties to other hands.
6. Don't Over-Schedule. When you're writing out your to-do list (and your to-don't list), try to give yourself a bit more time for a task than you think you may need. Then, in the event that you do take longer than you thought, you'll be covered. Having this buffer can also help you prepare for potential crises that tend to crop up when you're at your busiest.
7. Rest. Choose one day each week that you will not work. There are millions of things that need to be done, but they will always be there when you get back to work. It's important to allow your body to relax and reenergize. Otherwise, you may become burned out, and you may start to resent your work. Keep things positive. Take a break.
Every entrepreneur has a dream and a goal, neither of which involves anything less than an amazing product. Working smart, and not hard, is key to achieving this end.
Are you tired of the 80-hour workweek? Can you add some other ways to work smarter? Please take a moment to share this article and your comments with others.