When last I wrote to all of you, a new year was about to begin. And now we are well into the new one!
I know it may sound cliché, but as I get older time really does seem to be going faster. I wake up and before I know it the day is behind me, another page on the calendar flipped, a new season starting.
Also as I get older, I have learned to view each new day as a new opportunity. Truly, I wake up knowing that this could be the day something amazing happens! Problem is, I get busy scurrying from task to task, so much so that I’m afraid I might end up missing the amazing part!
Like many, I fill several roles in life. Mom, career, community member, friend…it can be a lot to juggle, and as a result every minute of my day is usually planned out. So if someone or something comes along to bump me off course, well, my day turns into chaos.
As I get older, I have come to realize this is not the best way to operate.
I work very hard, but I need to also learn how to work smart. I know, I know, the phrase “Work Smarter Not Harder” is getting kind of tired. And besides, I have always wondered, ‘why can’t I do both?’ I don’t think working smart or efficiently, means working any less hard. So…
Work hard. I got that one down.
Work smart. This I need to work on.
I don’t think there is any magic formula for doing that. Just as every person has a unique way of doing things and a unique definition of success, there are also unique ways I suppose to “work smart.”
I did a quick self assessment of work habits and here is what I came up with to help me work smart…and work hard.
As I mentioned, my appointments and tasks are stacked on top of each other on my calendar each day. I try to fit as many in as I can. Problem is, I need to learn to leave a buffer-time between tasks. Rushing from task to task or appointment to appointment leaves me no time to reflect on what just happened, or time to give my brain a bit of rest to prepare for the next thing on my list. By including time between each one, I may get “less” done in a day, but it will definitely enhance the quality of the time I am spending. Time management doesn’t necessarily mean squeezing as many tasks into a day as possible. It’s about prioritizing and working more efficiently. I will try not to consider it doing less, but rather doing more things that really matter.
I have always heard the golden rule of completing the most important task first each day. So each morning, I will try to identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete and do those first. That way, even if they are the only ones I get done, my day will be considered a success!
I’ve always heard “to-do” lists are important, but I just need to let them go. When I look at my “to-do” list each day, it overwhelms me. I need to take things one task at a time.
This next one will be hard for me as I have always lived in the “must be able to multi task” society. But, in order to make the most of my time, I will effort to devote my entire focus to the task at hand. For one, this means not having 10 browser windows open at once. It also means putting my phone out of sight and on silent.
Egads, is that even a thing?
And somehow in my race to always “be busy” and race from place to place, I started neglecting to enter “exercise” into my daily routine. I know from experience that exercise clears your mind, allows you to focus and increases work productivity. I need start making this a part of my day at least five times a week.
If you are like me, and feel like some days are getting out of your control, use the above as a template and find your own way to work smart AND work hard.
I don’t want you to miss the amazing!