Work Smarter, Not Harder

Why working smarter, not harder is the key to achieving work life balance!

As a full time working wife and mother of two young children, I think I know a thing or two about juggling a life of competing priorities.

Our time is more precious than ever before and we live in a fast paced environment where everyone is competing for it. We want our calls and text messages answered immediately, emails actioned without delay and a plethora of social media apps fill our smart phones and our minds!

Yes, I’ve been known to burn the candle at both ends far too many times and the very suggestion that our work must be in perfect harmony with our personal life, can set us up for disappointment. It’s just not that simple. Both work and life are often unpredictable and have ever changing needs at certain times.

Longevity and survival is about creating efficiency and flexibility in both, and ultimately working smarter than ever before.

Here’s my top seven tips on how to work smarter, not harder – in the quest to achieve work/life balance:

1. Feed the soul

Maintaining a healthy body and mind is essential and a must in my day. Schedule time just for yourself. Good fresh food, quality sleep & regular exercise must be your number one priority so that you can handle the day ahead with resilience. If the Prime Minister can find time for a jog/walk each day, you can too!

2. Prioritise your day

Make a list and prioritise, so that the most important tasks get done first. Ask yourself – is there anything that can be done more efficiently or eliminated altogether? It’s not about looking busy, working back late and squeezing as much as possible into your day. It’s about eliminating unnecessary stress and activity that adds no value, so you can focus on what does.

3. Set boundaries

Be realistic about your commitments and avoid needless people-pleasing. Show respect and be on time for meetings. Sometimes you just can’t be all things to all people and we may have to simply say a polite no. Communication is key and keeping others in the loop will always pay off.

4. Focus, Focus, Focus

Concentrate on one task at a time and don’t be tempted to check your inbox every five minutes, as it will only lead to procrastination. Schedule blocked time in your day to review and respond and you’ll be surprised at how much more you will achieve.

5. Take control of technology

We’re available 24/7. Embrace it, but don’t become a slave to it. Schedule ‘switch-off times’ – especially around your family and remember that unless you’re performing brain surgery, perhaps it can wait to the morning.

6. Don’t focus on the small stuff

I’ve always been a perfectionist but I have learnt over the years that there is more than one way to complete a task. I apply the 90/10 rule and choose not to make changes for change’s sake, as this can be inefficient. If it’s 90% right, then it is better to keep things moving and improve along the journey, than to stall progress simply to achieve perfection on trivial details.

7. Have fun at work and play!

The ultimate goal! There is no dress rehearsal in life. There is only the now. So take action, laugh out loud, respect yourself and your family and make your happiness in both work and play, your responsibility and priority.

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