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When it comes to working smarter and not harder, there are some simple things you can do: manage time more effectively, cut back your to-do list, be more focused and work in blocks of time.

That’s all good advice, and you’ve probably tried some of those tactics.  But, if you want to really grow your business, you know you need to work smarter, not harder to achieve the results you want.

We all hit a point in our business where we can’t grow any further without learning how to start working smarter.

Have you experienced something similar in your own business?

As you grow, and achieve success in your business, you take on more and more complexity, stuff and complications.

The challenge to work smarter, not harder

As we achieve more and more success in our business the amount of busyness and complexity grows. There is:

  • Longer working hours
  • More clients to work with
  • Additional admin to take on
  • More stuff to deal with
  • Less time to think and plan
  • More obstacles to overcome

Naturally, we feel we have to work harder to keep up.  But, the reverse is true.

We need to set better boundaries, manage time more effectively and become laser focused on only a small number of activities that will really grow our business.

How to work smarter, not harder

It becomes easy for your business to control you rather than the other way round.

Your time is swallowed up and you begin to work longer and longer hours to try and get ahead of yourself.

You hit a ceiling.

Despite working harder and longer, your results aren’t improving.

You actually have less time, rather than the time freedom you want.

When you feel like working harder isn’t working any more there is a simpler way.

Your business becomes about working smarter, not harder.

Rather than being efficient, it’s about being effective. It becomes about managing time effectively.

Work smarter by focusing on results

Instead of time and effort put it, the focus is on results and leveraging your time to achieve the results.

By developing this simplified way of thinking, communicating, and achieving, you’ll break through complexity and start working smarter, not harder.

To help you work smarter, not harder plan your day more effectively, download my FREE Daily Productivity Planner to help your stay focused and productive DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER

Use goal setting to work smarter, not harder

Think about your ideal future in terms of the specific, measurable goals you want to achieve.

Goal setting helps filter out a lot of busyness activity that keeps you in a work harder mindset.

When we have bigger goals, it forces us to develop better mindsets, habits and time management strategies.

Bigger goals provide us with the focus and opportunity to think about how we spend our time differently.

Rather than working harder, it becomes about working smarter.

Your future goals force you to eliminate certain activities and focus on working smarter, managing time, collaboration, developing better habits, building teams and creating bigger relationships.

We all reach a plateau with our time that we have to progress beyond.

Working smarter frees up more time 

The idea of working longer and longer won’t get us there.

Working smarter, not harder is the key to creating the time freedom that will allow you to achieve the next stage of growth you want.

Effective ways to work smarter, not harder

Here are 7 ways working smarter, not harder will make you more effective and help you achieve your goals quicker.

Learn to work smart and you will free up more and more time.

1. Improve your time management skills

If you find yourself with more work than you can actually achieve in a day there are 2 options:

  • Utilise time management skills to manage time better
  • Reduce the amount of activities you’re doing in a day

Being able to work smarter, not harder is about setting up your day so you’re clear on your most important activities, identifying your number one priority and then using time blocking to focus.

Remember Parkinson’s Law where work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

If you give yourself a full day to complete a project, you will spend the full day on that project.

2. Extend your time deadlines

“There are no impossible goals, only impossible deadlines.” – Dan Sullivan

We often give ourselves impossible deadlines to complete projects and tasks forcing us to continually work harder.

Instead, be realistic about the specific deadline required for each task and try to work smarter and give yourself just that little bit of extra time.

Use smart goals to be more realistic and timely.

3. Work smarter by saying no more often

When you are clear about your unique strengths and the results you’re best at delivering, you get better at learning to say no more often.

Rather than working harder and having a massive to do list of stuff, start working smarter by creating a list of activities that only you should do and find other people to work with or on the other activities.

Many entrepreneurs waste a huge amount of time on activities that are not essential and that they’re simply not very good at.

Understand your capabilities.

Work smart by understanding where you’re most productive and focus on being effective rather than efficient.

4. Focus on progress not perfection

People spend huge amounts of wasted time on making everything perfect.

They are simply causing themselves to work harder by constantly changing and updating and making perfect things that could be done in half the time.

Rather than being happy with a completed project, they spend endless hours editing so it’s just right.

Do the work to do the best of your ability and move on, or do the first part of a project that you’re great at and find other people to work with you on the rest.

5. Set up your day the night before

Creating an effective evening routine that gets you clear on your three most important activities for the following day can free up huge amounts of time.

Rather than starting the day, and wasting hours, without a clear list of priorities, focus areas and action steps you know exactly what to do.

Having clear direction and focus every morning helps you work smarter, not harder.

Following up with setting up each day the night before compounds that focus and increases effectiveness.

6. Protect your greatest resource, your time 

If you are fatigued, have no energy or motivation you simply won’t be productive or effective.

Working less, getting better sleep, eating healthily and creating more time for rejuvenation increases productivity.

When you’re working, take regular breaks, learn to time block to reduce multi-tasking and take time to walk or exercise if you’re having a particularly stressful day.

These are some of the simplest ways to work smarter, not harder and increase a sense of balance.

7. Focus your time on results, not time and effort

When it comes to productivity many people are focused on the time and effort taken to complete a project rather than the result itself.

Focusing on achieving a specific result helps us leverage our time because we are fully focused on the result.

If we can achieve a result quicker than expected then great.

This result mindset cuts through inefficiency and improves confidence and motivation.

When we are working on a bigger project that may take a week to deliver, some people get to the end of a day and think about how much more there is still to do.

Build momentum by celebrating achievements 

An alternative way of thinking is to celebrate the results that were actually achieved that day.

An insight can be created in a short period of time as can a breakthrough in thinking.

These are results and have nothing to do with time and effort.

They are not about working harder, but about working smarter.

Always having a results first mindset will help you work smarter, not harder and ensure you are not just filling the day with non-essential tasks.

More about working smarter, not harder

5 ways to leverage time to increase productivity 

10 essential tips to manage time effectively

P.S. Whenever you’re ready….. here are 5 ways I can help you free up your time to grow YOUR business:

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Grab your free Productivity Mastery Daily Planner to 10x your productivity.

Want to work with me one on one? Check out the options here

If you want to work smarter, not harder and take your business to the next level but are feeling stuck and frustrated, book a Focusing Call with me and come away with direction, clarity and focus on what you really want to achieve

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favourite tips to work smarter, not harder.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment.


Mark Pettit Administrator
Strategic Business Coach , Founder, Lucemi Consulting
About the Author Mark Pettit is a leading 1:1 business coach to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to free themselves up to jump to the next level of time freedom and business growth. He is the founder of Lucemi Consulting, a coaching and consulting company. Visionary, creative, and generous, he is a hero to entrepreneurs seeking to work less, do more of what they love and multiply their revenue and profits.
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