Many individuals think working hard is what will make them successful and will aid in reaching their goals. Rather than working hard we can work SMART and as a result be more productive and balance our commitments.

woman stressed whilst working

Analyse your current approach to work.

Take a moment to ask yourself some questions:

Are you putting in lots of hours at work?
Do your days follow a routine or get planned?
How often do feel exhausted?
Are you feeling stressed or ready to burn out?

Are you working Hard?

At a younger age, it was easy for me to work a large number of hours. This was much easier to handle as my commitments were only college and a job at a retail store.

Where things become difficult for any individual is balancing these commitments. We have to juggle more and more commitments and responsibilities and it is easy to find ourselves taking more on than we can handle (although we may think we can). If we look at this physiologically it is quite simple as to why we do this.

As individuals, we hate to admit defeat. We often find ourselves getting weighed down by work, family, education etc… we would rather battle on than to do the smart thing and take a few steps back to contemplate.

Where you may be heading!

Firstly according to Work-smart “Working too long or too hard can result in extremely high levels of stress, particularly if you don’t have enough going on in the rest of your life to counterbalance it.”. There are many additional issues other than health that occur.

Woman studying and looking for books on bookshelf

Research that attempts to quantify the relationship between hours worked and productivity found that employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours, according to a study published last year by John Pencavel of Stanford University.” says Bob Sullivan for CNBC.

A link to the study can be found here and is an excellent read.

In summary, you are most likely heading towards unhappiness and burnout. Don’t Fear! Read on, and you will be given the information you need to change your approach.

Work SMART instead.

pawn on chessboard wooden has crown on

1. Plan Ahead

Set Tasks! Before the day begins (the previous night or that morning ) you should run through what it is you are aiming to achieve. This gives you purpose. Personally, I set small milestones and throughout the day trying to reach them. It is okay to not always hit perfection; the point is to try.

The point to this activity is to plan on purpose. As a result, the day is structured and has motion. The day could easily go off track through unforeseen events but that structure will stay in place for you to fall back on.

2. Cut the Cr*p

Quite literally cut the cr*p. There is so much nonsense that occurs through our days. Maybe it’s your procrastination or possibly your boss giving you tasks that are misleading thus irrelevant to your primary goal. Whatever it may be it’s down to you to take control of your day and root out those infectious barriers holding you back from progress!
Spend your valuable time building habits which will increase productivity. By taking part in activities such as reading, researching or even going to the gym? By focusing your time into something valuable you will find it easier to be productive. A clear example is planning as mentioned above; it is a habit that requires development.

3. Find a Focus

Multitasking may seem productive but believe it or not…. it’s not.

Peter Bregman from the Harvard Business Review says this “Doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we’re getting more done. In reality, our productivity goes down by as much as 40%. We don’t actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.”

A link to an article from the daily mirror can also be found here discussing a similar topic.

In conclusion, find focus and invest it into one task at a time. It’s both healthier and more productive. It is also a great defense against burnout. Some smartphone apps are beneficial as they are designed to focus and keep you centered; this is done through different methods such as timers, music, dynamic games etc….

One such app can be found here.

4. Reduce Stress

Stay on top of stress. Stress needs to be constantly countered. It might seem like a long drawn out fight but it’s not. The NHS have a great page that contains brilliant information in regards to fighting stress; a link can be found here.

Stress has the habit of making us less productive but making us seem like we are working harder. This is not SMART, this is a clear symptom of working hard.
By forming healthy habits for example, a good nights sleep, visiting the gym and more you can easily reduce stress passively.

5. Change your Attitude

Suzanne Glover says “Although it can take some time to eliminate negative thinking and to develop a positive attitude, you’ll find that there are many benefits to having a positive attitude.”.

Be positive and stay motivated. This will help with all of the above. Staying positive will give you a better outlook on any circumstance and being motivated will keep you engaged and on track.

Bolder Growth posts brilliant and motivating quotes on social media. We can be found on social media by simply searching ‘Bolder Growth’.

Implement this approach easily!

Bolder Growth offers brilliant coaching. Our coaching helps individuals to implement change into their lives. Implementing the above can be difficult but with coaching it will be a breeze. Contact us here for more information if you’re interested.

Take it a step at a time and follow the above tips you will be soon working SMART rather than HARD.

square holding arms for strength

Leave a comment below and let’s have a discussion. “I wish you all the best and hope to see you here again soon” – Daniel (Owner of Bolder Growth)

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