Work smarter, not harder

Due to the ongoing pandemic, a lot of people are still working from home. If you have failed to put in place a system for keeping track of the hours you clock in while working from home, you might find yourself working longer hours than you used to yet still achieving less. People have told me they have attended back to back online meetings all day. On the surface, this looks like a productive day but if all they did was attend meetings, when are they supposed to work on their important tasks. No one is hired to attend meetings.

A hand ticking a checklist
Did all your important tasks today get done?

Working harder and longer can feel fulfilling in the short run. As you jump from one meeting to another, you might feel like you actually got something done until it’s time to finish working for the day and you realise the tasks on your to-do list never got completed. How could they? You were working longer on events and not long enough on tasks.

It is important to accept that there are only 24 hours in a day. You can’t work for all those 24 hours. Start by acknowledging this. No matter how much you try, you can’t do it all.

Task management icons
Don’t waste time doing what you shouldn’t be doing in the first place

Productive people aren’t doing everything. Instead, they focus on the key tasks that bring the most results. A good salesperson knows he will not get rewarded for the quality of the presentation he delivers during the Quarterly review. Instead, he achieves results based on the number of units (s)he sold during the quarter. Based on this knowledge, a good salesperson knows to block out time each day for sales calls and visits. The salesperson understands this is the key task that contributes to their sales target for the quarter. They could spend time creating a powerful presentation but it still won’t change their numbers for the quarter.

You could take a lesson from that. What are your key tasks? Have you blocked out time in your day for those tasks? Instead of having more tasks on your to-do list, you might actually need less. Same goes for your calendar. If you are in one meeting after another, when will the key tasks get done?

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