“I’m so busy!”
We hear this phrase used all of the time because the reality is we are really busy. Life is chaotic. Work demands, home-life responsibilities, family, friends, hobbies, self-care are all things which take up our time and attention on a daily basis, leaving us more susceptible to exhaustion and burnout along the way. But here’s the thing, being busy doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, you can be “so busy” but in a healthy, productive way which doesn’t leave you feeling exhausted and ready for bed by 8pm. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking this is a load of crap and ready to hit “X” on your browser, but stay with me here.
As someone who is a recovering workaholic (yes, this is a thing) I have found that by shifting from working harder to smarter, I have obtained a beautiful balance of busy and productive, which doesn’t leave me feeling drained and depleted. Now, in all honesty I do have my moments as I am only human after-all. So, of course there are going to be days where I am running on empty and doing too much, but those are the days I need to reset, refocus, and regroup. Life is not about obtaining perfection, it’s about the progress along the way and as an entrepreneur, this balance is incredibly important in how I run my business.
So how do you do it? How do you go from working harder to smarter? Below are my TOP THREE tips on how you can begin to implement this change in your life.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we tend to view multitasking as a badge of honor, as a way to “prove” just how busy and productive we are to the world. And guess what? Multitasking is not helpful AT ALL. Multitasking is actually a way to guarantee burnout, stress, and exhaustion. When you are trying to do too many things at once, you aren’t actually accomplishing any of those things at all. Sure, you’re “getting things done,” but not as effectively as you would have if you just did one thing at a time.
Next time you find yourself trying to answer emails, reply to texts, make lunch, listen to a podcast, scroll through Instagram, as well as mentally check off all of the additional things you still need to do in your mind, STOP! Take a deep breath and focus on ONE thing at a time. I know, it seems as though if you don’t do everything at once you are never going to get it all done but the reality is, you will. By doing one thing at a time, you will prioritize what NEEDS to get done first. You will give time and attention to whatever task you’re doing to ensure it’s done well, meaning you won’t have to go back and do it again. You will feel less stressed and anxious in the process, leaving you to feel more motivated to tackle the other things on your to-do list.
And to my fellow entrepreneurs, I know you have a lot to do because you are your business. You are the one who has to wear all of the hats and has to keep your business running smoothly. I get it. But multitasking is a pretty great way to work super, super hard without any major results. Remember, work smarter, not harder.
Establish A Routine!
Having a routine is so helpful for a variety of reasons. First, it’ll keep you on track each day, limiting the amount of distractions. Second, it’ll help you prioritize the things which need to be done each day. Third, it will allow you to stay focused and on task, which will boost productivity.
Now, as an organized, type-A person, establishing a routine comes naturally to me but I realize this isn’t the case for everyone. One of the best ways to establish a routine is figure out what is going to work best for YOU. My routine will look different from yours and that is ok! Below are some helpful tips in getting started:
- Decide how you want to break up your day. For example, maybe you have a morning routine, mid-day routine, and then an evening routine.
- Your routine may look different each day due to the various obligations you have each day or, maybe your routine is the same each day. There is no right or wrong answer, again this is what works best for you so think about your week and plan accordingly.
- Establish a work routine as well as a home-life routine. This will also help in regards to having a healthy work/home-life balance, too.
- Think about what is going to be most appropriate for your lifestyle and don’t try to conform to something because someone else recommends it. Remember, for lifestyle changes to be effective, they need to be realistic.
- Write your schedule down! Whether you put it in your phone calendar or write it down in a good old fashioned planner, write it down! This will not only keep you organized, but will also hold you accountable as well!
If you’re an entrepreneur establishing a routine is especially important because you don’t have the typical “9-5” schedule like everyone else, so it’s easy to feel all over the place without a set schedule. Some days you may only work a few hours while other days you may work 15 hours. Being an entrepreneur means you’re in consistent flow and everyday may look different. You have to ensure you are on some sort of schedule or routine to ensure your business is running smoothly. Otherwise, you are going to be working harder than you need to by trying to keep up with everything in a way which is not as effective as it could be.
Outsourcing is incredibly effective in regards to working smarter vs. harder, especially for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have a habit of trying to do everything on their own, all of the time (guilty!) This mindset is only going to lead to exhaustion, stress, and burnout. Again, we seem to think that doing everything ourselves will somehow make us more productive or more successful, but in reality we are just working way harder than we need to.
If you’re an entrepreneur, think about all of the things you do on a daily basis for your business. Now, think about the things which take you the most time, cause the most frustration, or you simply don’t enjoy. Now, can you outsource any of those things? The answer is yes, yes you can. However, I am willing to bet you are likely hesitant due to finances because if you can do it yourself, you can save money…right? This is a common thought amongst entrepreneurs which actually isn’t 100% true.
When I was re-doing my website, I was determined to do it myself to save money. Now, it’s important to understand that I am not tech savvy, at all. Sure, I can get by, but I really struggle with anything tech related. So, here I am, determined to re-do my website/brand/etc. and what ended up happening was a solid meltdown. True story. I realized after hours upon hours of trying to do this on my own that I simply couldn’t. I felt defeated and so upset because I had just wasted a ton of time trying to work on this with nothing to show for it. The problem was, I was working super hard, but not smart.
I finally caved and hired a web designer and guess what? I actually made money. How you ask? Well, for starters the web designer was able to do everything that took me hours to do in about 5 minuets because this was their job. This is what they excelled at. So, it didn’t take nearly as long as it would have for me to do it. Also, while the web designer was working her magic, I was getting other things done. I was blogging, booking and seeing more clients, networking and connecting. By outsourcing this task, I was able to free up so much time and thus utilize that time to make a profit.
Working smarter vs. harder is going to help you professionally but also personally. It is going to change the way you feel emotionally. It is going to take your business to new places and leave you feeling motivated and inspired in the process. As with anything though, change takes time. There are many more ways to work smarter vs. harder, but these three tips are ones that I have personally found to be most effective. Start small. Try implementing one of these changes into your routine and see how it goes. From there, you can implement more changes along the way.
I would LOVE to know what spoke to you today and encourage you to comment below and share with me!
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2 thoughts on “How To Work Smarter, Not Harder”
Great piece! I wrote a similar blog post titled “The Art of Single-tasking”—- so good to hear that you and others are realizing the deceptiveness of multitasking also! Also, helpful to hear the importance of outsourcing emphasized (as I am guilty of doing it all in my practice). Working on this. Great tips!
Thank you so much for your feedback!! I am so glad the content resonated with you and I am going to read your piece on multitasking as well! I agree, there is such a misconception around this and it’s so important for us to highlight that for our readers! And girl, I’m guilty of doing everything too!! But I’ve seen the benefits of outsourcing which has been SO helpful!!