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Working More Creatively for Better Results

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work-smarter-not-harderBy Adrienne Erin
Online Career Tips, Contributor

It’s a popular saying in offices across the country: “Work smarter, not harder.” But what exactly does that mean?

With more people working 40-plus hours a week, and the endless variations of how to work remotely, whether it’s from your home office, your neighborhood café, or, yes, even your car, these may not always be the best choices.

Sometimes, in the push to be almost superhuman in your daily tasks, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate if you’re really using your time and energy wisely. Chances are, you’ll find plenty of areas in which to improve.

Here are some tips for getting the job done by expending the least amount of energy.

Stay Focused

It seems easy, right? But distractions are everywhere, and occasionally you can fall prey to their frenetic urgings. Distractions are hard to recover from (about 15 minutes) so minimize them. You can simply let your calls go to voicemail, turn off your mobile alerts, and even close the door. Create an environment in which you can maintain your focus.

Delegation’s Not Just for the Lazy

You’ve seen it at some point. An individual with some authority lives to push work off their desk and onto yours, sometimes for no other reason than to have less work. Delegation isn’t always fair, but it can be a valuable time-saver when properly used. Oftentimes, we hold onto to projects that are best shifted to others. Don’t be afraid to let some of those responsibilities go. It’ll free you up to focus on the important stuff.

Let a Good App be Your Guide

They don’t call them productivity apps for nothing. Dropbox, Box, Pocket and others are designed to make your digital life seamless across devices. Inc even suggests Evernote. The app allows you to store notes, load photos and capture links of interest, all in a convenient notebook stored in the cloud.

Cut the Excessive Meetings

Do you really have to log in or wake up your tablet to conduct another meeting? Maybe not. Maybe a quick phone call or text message might suffice. Meetings take planning, organizing and worst of all, time. Time’s your greatest commodity in the maniacally-paced world of business, so be sure that if you’re going to have a meeting that it is absolutely necessary. Meetings should help increase productivity, not hinder it.

Go Offline When Possible

We’re so connected to our devices that it often seems we might need an industrial sweeper to gather all the elements of our lives in order. Try this: Go offline as much as possible. Pick up a book. Read a magazine. Stay off your mobile phone’s social media accounts. Try dialing a number instead of that long-winded text or email. Better yet, take a walk. Enjoy nature, and resist the urge to check for a notification every two minutes. It can wait.

When there’s less time, and more responsibilities at play, it’s easy to allow the work to pile up, but don’t let it. Use these basic tips, and you’ll find yourself more energized for the next day’s tasks.

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