Work Smarter, Not Harder // Work Day Hacks
Hey girl hey! 💖
Its officially Monday which means back to the grind + another post in my Work Smarter, Not Harder series!
Last week I shared tips to start your day off right, today I'm sharing what to do during the day to be more intentional and maximize your results!
➕ Check your inboxes regularly, not frequently. 📥
There’s a difference in checking your inbox at set intervals and checking your inboxes whenever you get the chance. Checking your inboxes, whether e-mail or phone, involves little time and few actions, but the distraction can be enough to lower your potential. [This is especially true if you are dealing with a case of FOMO making you the type who checks inboxes almost obsessively.]
You might say “Well, duh” or something similar. However, we all need a reminder sometimes.
Concentration is both a talent and a skill. Some people can focus on tasks easily – they’re usually the more productive ones – and some are not quite as good. However, you can train yourself to keep your cognitive and processing resources on the tasks at hand. It takes practice and, semi-ironically, concentration to build up your powers of concentration.
➕ One task at a time.👌🏻
Just like how a computer slows down when there’s too much going on, your brain is not as efficient when there are several tasks to handle at any given time. Worse, you are more likely to commit errors than a computer is, especially when you attempt to multi-task. The bottom line: One task at a time.
➕ Learn and use shortcut commands.📲
Using shortcut commands is a timesaver. Simple keystrokes can work like magic and improve your output by a lot. The less time you have figuring out which menu to pull down, the more time you will have to finish up. Also, take a good look at your keyboard. Chances are there are already pre-programmed buttons that launch certain applications from the get-go. Familiarize yourself with these shortcuts and you will make better use of your computer.
➕ If you're going to do it, do it right.💯
Take your time, and do your best. Also, you should regularly check and double-check your work as you go through it, not just at the end. Every mistake can mean that you will need to redo a section, or at worst, the whole thing. Productivity is as much about ensuring the quality of each output as it is about completing as many items as possible.
➕ Know your super power hours [the time of the day where you are at peak performance]!⏰
Just like TV has prime time, there is also a certain time frame where you are at your best. You can concentrate the most, able to work faster and more efficiently and produce better results during these hours. Do yourself a favor and make the most out of your prime time and really work into overdrive. The most difficult tasks of the day should be done when you are at your best. Anything that requires less attention should be moved to other times of the day.
➕ Take notes.📝
Whatever it is that you do, don’t forget to take notes of important things. For example, if you come across some possibly important bit of information, make a quick note regarding its location and content. That way, you can put it out of your mind until the time you need it. Keeping your mind as free of clutter as possible makes it more efficient; the same principle applies to relegating reminders to your smartphone rather than your internal active memory. You might find that this technique also reduces the number and intensity of headaches!
➕ Clear your mind as needed.📿
Simply pausing your thoughts and taking deep breaths for a few seconds is enough to lower your blood pressure and clear your mind of clutter. If you find yourself getting confused or having a headache, pause somewhere you can easily pick up, and take a few moments to re-center yourself.
➕ Get up and stretch regularly.💃🏻
You might think that getting up keeps one away from work and distracts from the task at hand, but think again. When you get up and stretch, you relieve stress on your body and mind. With fewer distress signals to bother it, your brain can become more efficient than it could have if you just slogged through the aches. The trick is to pause your work in a way that you will find it easy to resume from. If your work was a set of math problems, then you should pause after completing a problem, not while in the middle of one.
➕ Close all programs and browser tabs or windows that don’t have something to do with work.🙅🏻
Focus, eliminate distractions, and get shit done, son.
➕ Bookmark useful sites.📲
Keeping bookmarks for useful websites can be a big help. For example, if you find a great reference site, keep a bookmark of its homepage. That way, you can visit it again easily the next time you need to look something up. Even when you come across a site that isn’t useful at the moment bur may prove useful in the future, add a bookmark!.
➕Organize your bookmarks.📂
Aside from creating bookmarks, you should also keep them organized. Categorize them for easy lookup. File away old bookmarks that are no longer being used, or simply delete them. The idea is to make the bookmarks that you need easy to find by reducing the number of things you go through, either by deleting unused items or by grouping them for shorter sets to search through.
Sometimes, work just keep piling up until you have a full stack on your desk. Of course there is nothing more discouraging than a stack of paperwork on your desk. If it does happen, approach the problem by doing work one at a time. Prioritize work according to what is more urgent and/or important. Anything that can be put off for later should be put off for later. When you are done with everything marked “Urgent,” use your remaining time you have to tackle papers you still have left.
Not all programs have auto-save features, and those that do may not be set to save often enough. A sudden program freeze or crash can be a headache, but the detestation can be reduced by ensuring you save regularly. Manually saving about every five minutes (or setting the auto-save to that interval) is a good way to minimize data loss in case of unexpected program or system shutdown.
➕ Back up regularly.⏱
Keeping backups of your files and regularly updating those backups is one secret to productivity. It does add overhead and can be a little tedious, but you'll be glad you did in case of an emergency. Keeping multiple backups is a good idea as well. Your backups should be on a harddrive and/or online storage.
➕ Keep detailed information on backups.📝
You might know what’s currently on your active files and maybe the most recent backup, but what about the backups before that? Having lots multiple backups can make it confusing and difficult to track down the one you want, so you should maintain a readable file that details the contents and changes found in your backup files. If you have enough space, you can keep backups for years to come, and that can mean lots of duplicate files that may not necessarily be the same. Avoid wasting time on finding the right backup by keeping a summary file.
➕ Keep records and store them properly.🗄
Maintaining records of important daily information is very helpful. This does not just improve accountability and the ability to recover from loss, but it can also help you monitor performance and take appropriate actions. Remember to regularly relocate your records to some secure location, safe from the elements.
➕ Perform regular maintenance for your work computer.🖥
Not all the required maintenance work for your computer has to be handled by the IT Department. There are actually a few things that are simple enough that you can do them on your own. For instance, deleting unnecessary files are just a few simple clicks away. Defragging can help your computer de-clutter its hard drive and keep it running at optimum speeds. Do this regularly like once a week and you will have a reliable computer to work with. No need to keep calling the IT guys and stop working altogether.
➕ Assign priorities 📌
Know how to quickly review tasks and use your foresight to arrange them and assign priorities. Priority values rely on metrics like difficulty, time to deadline, required resources (including time), and if you play office politics, who it’s for. High-priority items should be worked on first, unless they rely on some as-yet unavailable resource. If a high-priority item cannot be worked on yet, turn to other high-priority items before taking care of low-priority items.
➕ Don’t procrastinate.🙅🏻
Don’t put off work that you can do now. Unless something urgent that requires immediate attention comes up, you should direct your energies to completing whatever it is that can be done at this moment. Aside from lowering your overall productivity, procrastination sets you up for dangerous crunches that could be much less taxing if you completed your tasks as they came up.
➕ Update your agenda or schedules as needed.🖊📖
When changes occur that will have effects on schedules or your agenda, update your reminders, and if needed, communicate with the concerned parties. Do these as soon as the need arises so you don’t forget! This will help you avoid situations where you forget appointments or you don’t get what you need beforehand, which causes stress and loss of time.
Which of these are you already doing? Which do you need to work on? Tell us in the comments! 📲💖