If there is one post that I absolutely adore reading it's about people's work days and how they try and streamline everything. Because I'm pretty sure all off us would like to work smarter instead of logging those extra hours in and it's definitely something that I've worked at a lot over the years. It's all trial and error with finding what works for you and how you personally work for sure but there are some fail-safe things that I really think not only help you get your work day flowing a little easier but also avoiding that mid-afternoon slump too. Because I'm sure we've all been there at around 3-4 and really felt the tiredness kick in.
IF YOU THINK OF IT DO IT
Whatever job we have whether we work from home or not there are bound to be those things that randomly pop into our brains that need to get done. I'm terrible for having things spring into my head and then forgetting all about them. And usually it's never anything huge so it could probably be done right there and then but my brain is always just like 'nah I'll do it later'. Now, whenever I think of anything that is going to take less than 5 minutes then I do it immediately then I don't have to write it on my to-do list and it's done and out of the way. It's something that sounds so obvious but it's something that's so helpful.
WRITE A FUNCTIONAL TO-DO LIST & HAVE SEPARATE LISTS FOR SEPARATE THINGS
We all know that I'm a big lover of my to-do lists you won't ever be able to prise them out of my hands. But something I've learnt over the years about writing hundreds and hundreds of to-do lists is that you have to make them functional. Yes, it's easy enough to write a million and one things on a list once you're on a roll and thinking of all the things that you need to do but I find that has the complete opposite effect and makes me want to hide in my bed and not even look at my laptop. Now I stick to a strict amount of things that need doing each day and I don't go over that because unless I want to work from the moment I wake up till the moment I go to sleep there is just no way I can fit in a hundred things a day. I have a separate list for work and then one for my own personal life and I work them each day which this leads me onto the next point.
ONE TASK AT A TIME
For so so long I would have absolutely said obviously doing more than one thing at a time will help you get through your workday more efficiently. But it doesn't at all, I've come to really despise multi-tasking and will avoid it at all costs because for me it means that I'm not focusing properly on what I'm doing so the outcome isn't as good as it should be and then I end up spending longer on the task at hand. It's hard to get into the habit of only doing one thing at a time because it's so easy to take on multiple tasks at once but once you do it makes things so much easier.
THE MID DAY SLUMP SNOOZE TEMPTATION
Really this only applies if you work for yourself although I can't deny that sometimes there were points when I worked in retail that I wandered off to the stock room and it took all my energy not to lay on the floor. And it was actually during my time in retail that I noticed the mid-afternoon slump creep in, mainly I remember that at 3.56 I would start clock watching and it's when the day really starts to drag. Now because I work for myself and I'm in complete control of how my day pans out I have to avoid the mid-day slump at all costs because it will more than likely end up in an hour nap that ruins the rest of my day. I usually finish my lunch break at around 1 so at 3.30-4 I'm really starting to get antsy and the thing that I've found to really work well for me is to get up away from my desk and just have a break. We all need to refresh our minds and you know how crappy it is when you've been staring at the same thing for too long and it just turns into complete gibberish. Now we're in the warmer months just sitting in the garden for 5 minutes can make all the difference in the world. When you're in charge of your work day it's so easy to forget to have a break but they're so important. And stepping away for a few minutes is never going to make that much of a difference.
BAN SOCIAL SITES & E-MAILS
Although my phone is nicely placed in these images I usually try and hide it away somewhere when I'm working because I'm far too distracted by it and could easily spend hours scrolling through pictures of cake on Instagram. As well as ditching my phone I log out of my e-mails and also ban myself from any social media websites because I get so distracted by them. What I think will be a quick check in on Twitter always turns into a 20-minute rabbit hole and before I know it I'm 30 profiles deep and I've taken a big chunk out of my workday. There's a really handy plugin for Google Chrome called Productivity Owl which bans a website for a certain amount of time. So then you can choose how long you want to ban yourself from certain websites, I typically do a couple of hours. Another thing that I've banned myself from is my e-mails, answering my emails is important and a large part of my workday but I get so distracted by them so I log myself out and only check in a couple of times a day. When things are constantly dinging and pinging it disrupts your focus and can easily pull you out of the task at hand.
KEEP YOURSELF COMPANY
I used to work to music in the background constantly because working for yourself and by yourself is pretty lonely. Keeping yourself company might seem like a slightly strange concept but it's something I've found to work really well. Whilst some days I do love to work to music especially when I need to wake myself up a little more typically I love to work to podcasts. I find just hearing someone else's conversation really keeps me going throughout the day and it's also a great way to get some education in too without actively really doing so. A few of my favourites are;
- Not Too Deep
- Walking The Dog
- The Lively Show
- Shondaland Revealed
- Hashtag Authentic
- Ctrl Alt Delte
- Ladies Who Lunch
- The Minimalists
Do you have any tips for working smarter not harder?