17 Ways to Work Smarter


There simply is not enough time to do everything. We all know this is true, and yet our behaviour at work often suggests that we believe there actually is time to do everything. That is the case when we do ‘the quick, the easy, the interesting, the fun and the enjoyable’ regardless of their urgency and importance. Not only is there not enough time to do everything, not all of the time we have is controllable. Some of it is uncontrollable in that the time is not available to work on actions from our to-do-list.

How to make time: Research has shown that most people will waste 45- 90 minutes a day. Here are some ideas that will help you gain an hour a day:

  1. Think on paper and spend time forward planning every day.
  2. Analyse your time usage occasionally. Use a notebook or planner as a source of information storage and planning.
  3. Use ‘time-slicing’ for a day or week or managing larger projects
  4. Work to a series of key objectives, goals and plans – daily, weekly, monthly and annually.
  5. Set clear priorities on tasks. Always.
  6. Do one thing at a time. Stick to it until you have finished or allocate a time to continue.
  7. Get organised: Work from lists, throw more away; purge files regularly; avoid clutter. Be punctual. Always.
  8. Prioritise constantly – ask yourself the $64,000 question every hour.
  9. Be realistic – allow for committed time – add a safety buffer to all promises. Don’t expect to do everything – you never will.
  10. Learn to delegate effectively (and don’t sweat the small stuff).
  11. Create a ‘golden hour/s’ every day and schedule time for routine tasks.
  12. Use Parkinson’s law to schedule tasks, limit overrunning on routine tasks, control meetings and interruptions.
  13. Be more assertive – say ‘no’, ‘not now’ or ‘no because’ more often. Be ruthless with time and gracious with people.
  14. Not make working late or taking work a habit. Restrict to peak workloads only.
  15. Make time to exercise, for hobbies and spend time with the people in your life.