By Damilola Faustino
No matter how hard you work and the number of hours you put into something, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get all the things you have on your to-do list done. While working hard is an admirable trait, working smart gets you what you want in a shorter period of time.
Working smart means you do the least amount of work possible to yield the highest outcome. Working smart differs from situation to situation, from job to job. But here are some general principles on how you can work smart and not hard:
Delegate where you can
You do not need to take on every assignment on your own and neither do you need to make all the decisions by yourself. Delegate where you can and practice collective decision making where possible. By delegating, you are lightening the workload and by practising collective decision making, you are sharing the responsibilities. Delegating can value-add by harnessing on the strength and ideas of others.
Always learn from past mistakes
Always learn from past mistakes and do not repeat them. In fact, also learn from past successes and try to improve on them. Have an attitude of innovation and creativity. Learning how to simplify and make routine actions will help in making things work easier for you. Take some time to do a post-mortem meeting after every major project to see how things can be done more efficiently and how things can be done to achieve greater results.
Leveraging on others
Nobody is a master of everything. Sometimes, you need the expertise of others to undertake something you simply can’t. This is where networking is important because, with a wide network of friends, professional contacts and industry acquaintances, you can leverage their expertise to help you solve issues.
Explore the power of technology
Today’s technology is so great that some of the things you are using daily were not even invented in the past decade. Use technology to automate certain routines you have – doing this will free up some of your energy.
Compartmentalise your schedule, but be flexible
Avoid multitasking. Rather, compartmentalise your monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly schedule to complete your tasks. Undertake one major task at a time as multitasking reduces focus on a task and will lead to mistakes – which will cost time and money. Having said that, however, be flexible with your schedule as unexpected assignments tend to crop up when you least expect it.
Aim for a job well done instead of perfection. Firstly, no one is perfect and there can never be a perfect ending. Aiming to do something perfectly is time-consuming, energy consuming and will put a strain on everyone. Unnecessary stress and tension will build up and frustration will follow soon after. Therefore, know that not everything needs to be done to perfection, rather choose your battles wisely as long as the end result is acceptable by everyone.
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