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10 Ways to Actually Work Smarter

https://www.dansilvestre.com/how-to-be-productive/

dansilvestre.com

10 Ways to Actually Work Smarter
Throughout the years, I've learned a lot of lessons about productivity and working smarter. These are my 10 commandments on how to be productive and work smarter, instead of harder. They serve as a constant reminder when I am feeling unproductive or things are just not working out the way they should.

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Measure Output, Not Input

Systems are the best way to progress since they reward effort and we control all the variables. However, we need to have a sense of direction in those efforts, to know what we are trying to accomplish.

Writing daily with no objective is just practice. If you want to achieve something, you need to commit to a certain output, like publishing a post on your blog weekly. At the end of the day, a system is a way to control how to achieve an output.

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Use the 80/20 Rule

... to constantly question yourself if your focus, time or money is on the things that generate the majority of the results.

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle states: 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action. The little things are the ones that account for the majority of the results.

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Reserve Mornings for Deep Work

Our working memory, alertness, and concentration gradually improve a couple of hours after waking up, peaking at about mid-morning - our brain’s natural peak productivity period.

Take advantage of this state, by scheduling your most important work for this period. Focus on performing Deep Work, meaning you get to work free of distraction for a long period of time.

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3 Types of Distractions

  • Physical: they range from the clutter on your desk or having too many clothes, making it harder to choose an outfit in the morning.
  • Intangible: notifications from your phone, random web browsing sessions without an end in mind, convoluted apps and systems that take more time to manage than to do the actual work.
  • People: the annoying coworker who keeps interrupting you or that friend that you always give more than you receive.

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Automate Repetitive Tasks

More automation means more time to focus on creative and productive work.

Start by listing down all the tasks that you have to do recurrently every week. Then find ways to automate them, either by using apps or building your own system. It doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll always have recurring tasks.

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Be Data-Driven

You should always make data-driven decisions. If you don’t, you are choosing to go with your opinion with no facts to back it up.

It starts by questioning everything: do I think this way because it’s my opinion/other people say so/it’s how the world works or because I’ve tested it?

Growth comes from hard work and a little luck. Hyper-growth comes from testing.

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Delegate the Non-Essential

No one is the best at everything. By focusing on what you do best and delegating the rest, you optimize your productivity.

Unless you have to develop a new skill, it’s always better to find someone already skilled at something to complete that task.

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The Struggle Is the Process

Some days are great, some days are good, some days are bad. Embrace the struggle: this is the space where breakthroughs come from.

And when you finally find something that works, it’s a magical time. But no one is going to clap. So you must do it for yourself. Learn to enjoy the small victories.

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Focus on Systems Instead of Goals

Focus on Systems Instead of Goals

Most goals are out of our control. We have limited control to reach them. In a system, your focus is on all the parts that you do control. And system is a fancy word for “repeatable process”.

For example: running a marathon is a goal, running 4 days a week for 30 minutes is a repeatable process.

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Leverage the Compound Effect

When you focus on developing systems and work every day, your work compounds over time, developing exponential growth.

The more advantages you create, the more your next advantages pay off. A 1% gain every day compounds to almost 38x increase over a year.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Working Harder isn’t the Answer

We do it because it's the most visible form of productivity.

It is a way to prove to others that you are doing stuff and checking things off the list.

The Dose-Response Theory

Hard work is necessary in order to be productive, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

At some point, you start to be negatively productive.

Prioritize Tasks by Energy Level

It means scheduling your time according to your natural rhythms:

  • Do your most important work at the beginning of the day if you are a morning person.
  • Don't feel bad about sleeping in because you stayed up late at night to work if you are a night owl.

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Automate Decisions

Automate Decisions
  • Transfer money to your savings account every time you receive a paycheck
  • Choose all your outfits for your week on Sunday and hang them in the closet in order
  • S...

Single Task

Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.

Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” 

The philosophy of working "smart"

... is to maximize your productivity when you are working so that you can get more stuff done in shorter periods of time.

By working smarter, you'll find yourself with more time in th...

Find the to-do list app that work for you

The best one for you depends entirely on your working style and personal preferences.

You can use a physical notebook around everywhere you go, but it's easier to use a to-do list app or tool that syncs across all your devices. That way, you can access your to-do items whenever and wherever you need to, whether you're at your desk, in a meeting, or on a business trip.

Prepare in advance

Write out your to-do list the day before:

  • You'll free your time to dive right into your to-do list in the morning - one of the most productive times of day.
  • It can help you spot obstacles ahead of time and prepare accordingly.
  • Knowing what you have going on well in advance could help you relax and sleep better the night before.