Working Smart – 5 Easy Tips
It’s not easy being told all the time to work smart, not hard. Especially for someone like me, who comes from a culture that prizes hard work above all else. Sometimes, working too hard can lead to problems, and the Japanese even have a work for that – karoshi – which is death from overwork. I personally feel that one should work smart, as this not only increases productivity, but also reduces stress and frees up time for important matters.
Here are five easy tips that you can follow for working smart, not working hard – because there is a huge difference.
Don’t Start From Scratch
It’s not the man that invents the wheel that gets the credit, it is the man that makes the car that gets the kudos. A famous saying that holds true: you don’t need to stress yourself out on this and you don’t need to start from scratch. Instead, you should take it upon yourself to use something that somebody has already created and make it many times better and more useful. A case in point is that many artists themselves say: Bad artists copy, great artists steal.
Of course, crediting the source goes without saying.
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
The poem that you have just read is Love After Love by Derek Walcott and is also my favourite poem of all time. It goes beyond being my favourite poem; it speaks on a much deeper level to those of us who live in this day and age. Nowadays, people are constantly on the move, with no time to stop and smell the proverbial flowers. This poem urges you to love yourself, first and foremost, and forget about the insubstantial things we are chasing, like money, fame and power.
How does this tie in to working smart? You simply work for yourself, and by loving yourself; you create a space that is conducive and safe for you. This then increases your productivity and without you going too hard on yourself, you still get the job done!
Pomodoro Your Time
Have your heard of this famous technique? It has been purported to be an effective time and focus increasing trick. Pomodoro comes from the Spanish word “tomato” and was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.
1. Decide on the task to be done.
2. Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
3. Work on the task.
4. End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
You can find out more at the official site here.
Use GPS (Goal, Purpose, Scope)
No, it’s not the global positioning system but it’s definitely a great way for you to find your way when doing your tasks. Here’s what each one means:
Set A Goal: Exactly what it says on the tin; setting a goal is important. Setting goals big and small are also important. What’s even more important is setting small goals to help you achieve that big goal.
Find Your Purpose: It’s said that we were born to give purpose to our own lives, and whether you agree or not, finding a purpose in life helps you to set a series of goals to achieve that purpose.
Widen Your Scope: There’s nothing sadder than a narrow-minded person and you should always widen your scope. Try something new!
Similar to the pomodoro technique, set the amount of time that you want to dedicate to a specific activity and stick to it! This can be a fun exercise for you and you can greatly expand your skillset by trying out new things during certain “themed” hours.
All in all, I hope this was a fun and useful article for you! Look forward to more by subscribing to the Ooze Newsletter and if you like this article, do share it on social media.