“It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is what are we busy about?” –Henry David Thoreau
Each of us accomplishes our work one day at a time. We work hard, yet it’s easy to forget that we have untapped intelligence and ingenuity to achieve a better life for ourselves and our dependents. When asked the secrets of personal and professional success, most of the world’s wisest people focus on the differences between working harder and working smarter. Working smarter comes first.
That’s why I’m proposing that you start a “Working Smarter, Not Just Harder” folder on your desktop, laptop, or tablet. Fill it with links or content from the articles and ideas that kick start your inner genius. This folder should contain articles that ignite your determination and imagination, too. Here’s a link to an article which was written to galvanize your self-improvement strategy. If you didn’t read that article when it was first published, no problem! Read it right now from top to bottom. Seize the moment, carpe diem and glean all you can from it!
Need an article about how to be more successful with the management of your most priceless commodity–time? Take a look at this article with an eye for improving time management skills. As you accumulate your folder full of information about working smarter, make sure you organize it to meet your needs. Place them in some kind of order that matches your personal goals or desires.
Now it’s time to make a date with yourself as often as possible to review your Working Harder folder. Once a week should be a minimum, and twice a week is optimum. My suggestion is you complete your work week with a personal review. Take a few notes about the areas of your life that you enthusiastically want to make progress. Then rest your weary mind for a day. Okay, maybe you should rest your mind for a couple of days. Have some fun, commune with nature, do something that is extra-relaxing and don’t think about work at all.
Then, when you begin your work week, make it a habit to consult your folder. Spend 15-20 minutes scanning the powerful articles you’ve collected for the purpose of choosing your focus for the week. The point is to look for definitive ways you can delegate, organize, streamline and improve your methods for accomplishing your work. Don’t be hard on yourself, feel encouraged, and be proactive.
Now you’re ready for my #1 way to work smarter and not just harder: Always begin each work day by doing the most important tasks first.
Put another way; accomplish your most important work as early in your day as possible. That’s when you have the most energy and mental clarity. You’ll also feel a great sense of relief. This way you’ll find it easier to follow an important rule that I invite you to adopt as your own. Never, ever check your email until you’ve accomplished your most important tasks of the day. Why not? Because email messages are a time-suck that often ends up distracting you. Before you know it you’re devoting your day to other people’s priorities instead of your own.
Working smarter and not just harder is the key to personal and professional success, good health, and more opportunities to be “busy about” enjoying your life. Go for it!