This question originally appeared on Quora: In what ways do you work smarter, rather than harder?
My bosses say all the time: "We don't want you to work hard, we want you to work smart." (I work at an ad agency and innovative Think Tank)
I'm going to start big picture here and work backwards.
1. At the end of every year, reflect on what goals you accomplished, what goals you fell short on, and what goals you want to set for the next year.
2. At the end of every month, reflect on what goals you accomplished, what goals you fell short on, and what goals you want to set for the next month.
3. At the end of every week, reflect on what goals you accomplished, what goals you fell short on, and what goals you want to set for the next week.
4. Every night before bed, write down what you have to do tomorrow that will get you closer to your goals for the week.
5. Divide your day up based on your productivity patterns. For example, I know that between 1-3 pm I tend to have the most trouble focusing. Same with 5-7ish. So I choose to do my hardest tasks in the morning, late afternoon, and at night.
6. Remove distractions when you're doing your work, and do not try to multitask. If for 1 hour you're going to work on X, then only work on X. Nothing else, unless absolutely necessary.
7. Delegate what you can. There's no dignity in doing everything yourself. Use other people as resources.
8. Don't recreate the wheel. If you have already written copy for this somewhere else, reuse it. If you've already created a similar graphic for an old project, try to repurpose it instead of starting from scratch. These little decisions save big time.
9. Slow down to speed up. I'll use an egg analogy here. You save more time by carefully placing the egg in the garbage can than throwing it from across the kitchen and hoping it'll go in, and if not, now wasting five minutes wiping it off the floor.
10. Positive thoughts. Work gets done faster when you aren't fighting yourself in the process.
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