Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More - Deepstash
Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More


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Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More

by Jason W. Womack

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The Three Driving Points

  • First, to work smarter, use all the available time in your schedule, identify your top priority tasks, pare your task list down and maintain your focus. To work better, change your work habits, even if your existing habits brought you success.
  • Second, to think bigger, believe in yourself and what you can accomplish. Spend time with supportive people, expand your social network and eliminate distractions.
  • Third, to make more – more money, time, opportunities, memories or anything else – create a continuous cycle of improvement.


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Your Best Day

Imagine your ideal day. What time would you get up in the morning? What would you do first? What would you accomplish? Who would you be with? Visualizing your ideal day and committing that vision to paper will help you “work smarter, think bigger and make more.”


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Working Smarter

A day consists of 96 blocks of time that are 15 minutes long, so each 15-minute block is about 1% of your day. You can dramatically increase your efficiency by managing the time on your calendar in blocks of a quarter of an hour. When you suddenly have an extra 15 minutes, such as when a meeting ends early or when someone you’re expecting is late, be prepared to use the time to your advantage.

Carry the tools you need to complete some of the small tasks on your to-do list, like making hotel reservations, listening to your voicemail, writing thank-you notes or outlining a writing project.


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  • “Identify a very specific area” – Decide what in your life or work you want to fix.
  • “Develop strategies” – Determine what steps to take and what methods to use to achieve your targeted improvements.
  • “Experiment” – Try different approaches to “generate bursts of momentum.”
  • “Assess the value the effort has created” – What have you accomplished, and was it worthwhile?


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The Days Are Too Short

With so little time in the day, follow a three-step process to achieve your targets: “set a goal, be consistent” and “take action.” Identify your “Most Important Things” (MITs) – the top goals you want to address during a set time period.

How will you break down these goals? Some people make to-do lists, using nouns, like “book launch.” Others prefer lists of verbs, like “find bookstores for book promotion.” Brainstorm a list of nouns that summarizes your goals. Then use verbs to identify “action steps” that you can address within the next four days.


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A Pared Down To-Do List

Focus on a pared-down to-do list and commit to giving those tasks your complete attention.

Start the day by setting the alarm for the time you actually get up; don’t build in time to press the snooze button and fall back asleep.

Gather the tools you need to work more efficiently, but use as few tools as possible and learn to handle them expertly so you can be more productive.

Most hardware and software offerings have lesser-known features that can save precious work minutes.


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Like most people, you tend to keep doing what you have always done. What you have been doing thus far has taken you to where you are now, so your routines probably seem successful. But to achieve more, you must do more, and that means changing your routine.


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Context: Change Your Environment

This is the environment in which you work. Do you waste time looking for what you need? Do your tools and devices work properly? Are better tools available? Does your workspace inspire you to do your best? If you gave a negative answer to any of these questions, change your context to help you work smarter.


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Network: The People Around You

 The people surrounding you greatly influence the choices you make, even if you don’t realize it. This includes people you physically interact with, as well as those in your social networks. To change your habits, change the people around you who influence you; add a person or two whose work style you admire.


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Thinking Big: Your Beliefs

Your beliefs determine your success. Remember, “If you think you can, you can.”

Thinking bigger involves building “self-efficacy” – the belief that your actions will succeed. Self-efficacy can be hard to maintain when you have more priorities on your to-do list than you have time to complete, so reduce your daily priorities. Boost your efficacy by attending conferences and seminars.


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  • “I did it before” – Recall a recent success and think through how you achieved it, step by step, “from start to finish.”
  • “They were able to do it” – Notice successful people around you and in the media. Draw inspiration from those who have achieved great goals.  
  • “They think I can do it” – To gain confidence, think of the belief other people have in your abilities.  
  • “I know I can do it” – Remind yourself of your successes. Build your confidence based on the knowledge that “you’ve worked, prepared, rehearsed and anticipated success as you move toward your goals.”


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Tap the power of your social network – the web of people with whom you are connected. Your social network existed long before the advent of Facebook or Twitter.

List the people you admire, those you want to spend more time with and those you’d like to be around less.

This categorization will show you the people who are most important to you.

For a given project, construct a “mind map” of “Team You” – the people you can rely on to give you ideas, feedback and support.


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Changing the way you work requires gathering data, something that most business professionals understand. To reduce interruptions and to make sure you do your work when you are at your best, monitor your work habits and record any changes.

For example, if you want to increase the number of outgoing calls you make to your contacts, first log your current calls and calculate your call volume. Then, track the changes you want to make.


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Making More

Making more – money, time, opportunities, memories or anything else – requires creating a continuous cycle of improvement. One powerful way to continue improving is to ask for feedback.

When you redirect your focus, your perspective changes, and when that happens, you have a significant option: You can begin to make things better.


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  • Results” – At the end of a set period of time, consider how the matters you want to change are going now.
  • Experience” – This is how you feel your life is transpiring.
  • Contribution” – “Who said thanks?” View others’ appreciation of your contributions as an assessment of your effectiveness.
  • Measurement” – This is objective data, like the amount of money you saved or the number of clients you landed during a particular period.
  • Service” – Consider whom you helped lately and who helped you.
  • Habits” – Building good habits helps you reach your goals. 


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Focus To Finish

To make more, you have to focus to finish. Two techniques can help you maintain your focus, though they have varying degrees of effectiveness:

  • Use the “stop and do” tactic when a task should take so little time that it makes sense to just go ahead and do it. This approach can lead to a busy day in which you make progress toward your MITs.
  • Employ the “stop, think and bunch and then do” method when you feel you need to accumulate all your necessary tasks and group them into categories of activities that you can dispatch all at once.


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Clarify Your Workspace

Arrange your workspace with care: What visual and auditory distractions break your focus? Visual distractions might include piles of papers on your desk, a blinking phone light or any stimulus that draws your attention from work. Auditory distractions are prevalent in open plan offices.

Focusing to finish your tasks requires removing or blocking out distractions, paying tight attention to what you can accomplish right now to further your goals and letting other tasks go


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A well-constructed collection of sound, practical, life-improving advice to anyone seeking increased efficiency and productivity.