Everyone’s heard it at some point — work smarter, not harder.
But unfortunately, most people don’t really take it to heart. They continue to work how they’ve always worked, and in the process, they waste time, struggle with everyday tasks, and fail to be as productive as they can be.
Obviously, this is a problem … a problem that can be solved with three very simple suggestions.
Time management is critical to productivity, but it also happens to be something that many people struggle with on a daily basis. With so much going on, it’s difficult to remain focused on one task, and it’s even more difficult to have the drive to actually want to focus on one task.
Because of this, it’s important to get help where you can get it. Here are a few great places to start:
- Adopt a time management technique: A technique like The Pomodoro Technique will teach you how to focus more intensely, for longer periods of time, while maintaining a consistent break schedule.
- Use an app: Apps aren’t just for snapping, swiping, and gramming. There are plenty of apps available that can help you manage tasks, plan breaks, or focus better. For example, Focus Booster is an app that is actually based on the Pomodoro Technique. With easy-to-read reports, embedded timers, and useful insight, this app can help you develop better work habits.
Levels of Communication
If you want to work smarter and get more done, then you need to embrace multiple levels of communication. This is because conversations do (and should) exist well outside that voice box sitting on top of your desk.
Think about how quickly and effortlessly you switch back and forth between different communication platforms when you’re at home (texts, emails, voice calls, snaps, tweets, and more). You don’t even think about it. It’s natural and also completely necessary.
This very same thing should happen when you’re at work. Here are the platforms you need to consider:
- Instant messaging: It’s important to have a central communication platform where everyone has the option to talk individually or as a group. There are plenty of instant messaging options available for businesses, but tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams are the best of the best. Both tools give you the option to share documents, create multiple groups, and have one-on-one conversations with coworkers.
- A team platform: On top of instant messaging, you should also consider a solution that manages the flow of information and the conversations required to keep that information flowing in the right direction. This could be something as simple as Trello or Wunderlist or something a bit more advanced like Basecamp or Asana.
- A solid phone solution: You’ll always have a need to verbally communicate with people. That need is never going away (at least not anytime soon). So it’s important to improve what you can do with your desktop phone. Stop looking at it as just a phone and look at it as a portal to better communication. A modern phone solution can enable multi-person conferences, hotdesking, auto-attendant capabilities, desktop integration, and more.
Communicate on all the levels and manage all the time, and you still might have trouble getting work done. You’ll struggle and desperately feel like a longer day is necessary.
And typically, distractions are completely to blame for this.
Whether it’s social media, nearby coworkers, or cute cat videos on YouTube, distractions chip away at productivity and make it more difficult to work. However, there are a variety of apps that can help you manage (and limit) distractions throughout the day. Here are a few of them:
Aside from digital distractions, you also need to control in-person distractions. To do this, you can consider setting daily support times in your calendar. Make it a company-wide meeting, so everyone understands when you’re available for questions or additional tasks.
You can also consider just making this a company-wide initiative — where there are multiple opportunities during the day for collaboration and support. Outside those hours, you should have the opportunity to work on your own and to fully focus on the task before you.
These three suggestions aren’t the only ways you can work smarter. Take a look at these 5 business apps that are guaranteed to make you more productive.