5 Tactics For Working Smarter, Not Harder

Want to be known as a super-productive technical professional? Want to do less and get more done so you can improve your work-life balance and overall job satisfaction? One of the best things you can do for your career is to cut down on time-wasting tasks, streamline necessary tasks, and find ways to get a lot done without putting in as much or more effort every day. And that’s exactly what these 5 tactics will help you do.

Tactic 1: Do One Thing at a Time

Now that multitasking has been repeatedly debunked, most of us know we can get more done by focusing on one task at a time. But, another way to can add to your focus is to divide your day into time boxes or batch your work. Basically, you set aside specific time for one kind of task and do a bunch of the same thing at once. For example, you’d go through a batch of meetings all within a specific time block and then move on to focused coding in a specific time block and then move on to focused troubleshooting in a specific time block. Grouping the same (or similar) types of tasks will help you do more in less time and help you stay focused which is essential for productivity.

Tactic 2: Automate as Much as Possible

Although automating your workflows or setting up automated tools that help you get more done at work takes a lot of time upfront, it pays off quickly once these tasks are completed. Evaluate your responsibilities and find any areas where automation can fit in, it’s a particularly helpful tool for tracking metrics, maintaining client/customer relationships, and any repetitive task that sucks too much time out of your day. Also, you can use this tactic in your personal life to get some tasks off of your plate like setting up automatic bill pay, utilizing Amazon to automate and eliminate a lot of your errands, or getting a Robo-vacuum that you can control wirelessly to clean while you’re away. These small time-savers can really add up and help you focus on more important tasks.

Tactic 3: Pomodoro Method

Need a little help focusing and an effective way to make sure you’re taking enough breaks throughout your day? Give the Pomodoro Method a try! This helpful productivity enhancer is a pretty simple process everyone can follow. It involves 25 minutes of focused, timed work followed by a timed 5-minute break. This method is proven to keep you at peak focus while powering through tasks that you might otherwise put off. Plus, it helps you get the right amount of breaks during the day so you don’t feel fried before the workday ends. Once you complete one 30-minute cycle (25 minutes of work, 5-minute break), you can start another one and run through several in conjunction with each other. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of different tasks to tackle throughout the day and want to make sure each one gets some of your undivided attention.

Tactic 4: Get Rid of Unnecessary Decisions

Habits play a big role in our lives and are a key element when we’re trying to reduce our efforts and get more done. Why? Because they help us eliminate unnecessary decisions. Do you have to think about brushing your teeth in the morning or is it an automatic thing you do at roughly the same time every day? If it’s the latter, it’s because brushing your teeth is one of your habits. You don’t have to use any mental willpower to execute your habits which is why it’s helpful to craft a morning and night routine that sets you up for success the same day/the next day while eliminating unnecessary decisions. This will help you start and finish your day effectively so you’re ready to focus on the necessary decisions and tasks at hand each and every day.

Tactic 5: Streamline Everyday Tasks with Documented Processes 

If you document your processes for every task you complete, you’ll notice unnecessary steps you can eliminate and areas where you can streamline to get the same thing done without putting in as much work every day. If you put in the time to do this upfront, you’ll be able to dramatically reduce your workload while getting more done in a shorter amount of time. This is essential for productivity and something you should do a few times a year to make sure there’s nothing unnecessary clogging up your workdays. 

Whether you’re gunning for a promotion, hoping to improve your work-life balance, or simply looking to feel happier and more satisfied about your job performance this year, these 5 tactics can help you achieve your goals. Get more done without putting in a ton of extra effort and you’ll see a positive impact on your overall career over time!