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7 Habits for achieving more by working smarter not harder

7 habits for achieving more by working smarter not harder

If your everyday workload regularly leaves you feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and frazzled then it’s time to work smarter not harder. 

We all have the same amount of time available to us but have you noticed that some people are able to get much more done while remaining calm and unflappable… but how do they do it? 

It’s not from working harder, longer hours. It’s from working smarter. 

Here are 7 habits to help you to work smarter not harder. 

1. Focus on what matters most

Not all work is created equal. Some work is what I call busy work while other tasks help to move the dial on what matters most to you, your team and to the organisationBut the question is – do you actually know which activities matter most?

It’s only once you know what matters most that you can prioritise these activities, to ensure that the important work gets done. 

2.  Make quicker decisions.

If you procrastinate, over analyse or get stuck seeking the opinions of every man and his dog before you make a decisionit’s time to stop! 

I am not suggesting that you make snap decisions that are irrational and without consideration, but painfully slow decision making is holding your back and impacting your reputation as a leader. 

3. Give up your perfectionist ways

I get it. You want to do your best work. You were rewarded at school and at uni for perfecting your assignments but in the working world your perfectionism is holding you back. 

I see many smart women falling behind when they get into leadership roles because their perfectionist tendencies slows down delivery or they don’t even give their ideas the light of day, waiting for the ideas to be perfect. 

The solution that works for many of my perfectionist clients is to set a new benchmark. 

It’s time to shift your standards! 

Not everything needs to be done to 100% perfectionYes, some things need that level of attention to detail – such as board reports and data analysis but for much of what you do 80% is good enough, saving time and effort without significantly impacting the value of their work. 

4. Say NO more often.

Yes ladies. I know how much you struggle with this one but this is important. Too often I see women making time for everything and everyone else, at the detriment of their own work performance and energy levels. 

Learning to say NO more often will open up space in your calendar for doing the work the matters 

5. Discover your productivity zone.

We all have our own productivity zone. When and where is yours? Is it early in the morning before the team start work or is it after dinner once the kids have gone to bed or some other time through the day? 

And what type of environment allows you to be most productive Do you like the hum of activity around you or do you work best in a quiet, peaceful space? 

 Scheduling the most critical tasks during these times will help you get much more done with less effort.  

6. Turn off distractions.

This one really is too obvious but had to be in the list. Have you noticed that we respond like Pavlov’s dogs, reacting to the buzzing and binging of our social media, emails, or phones? 

And as much as we think we can multitask, we can’t We lose momentum, focus, and concentration every time these micro interruptions come our way. 

So ladies… it’s time to disconnect from your devices, even if it is just for a few hours each day. 

7. Prioritise your self care.

If you want to accomplish more, make it a priority to nourish your mind, body and soul 

Our mood, creativity, effectiveness, productivity and good decision making are all negatively impacted if we are tired, sluggish and lacking in energy. To do our best work we need to take good care of ourselves.  That means getting plenty of sleep, exercise, good nutrition and space to rest and rejuvenate 

Put quite simply – selfcare is not a luxury, it’s essential! 

The choice is now yours!

If you are struggling to get it all done and your ‘to do list’ is a source of stress and tension for you, choose one (or more) of these habits to slot into the way you work. 

Let’s make life a little easier (and a lot more fun) by working smarter not harder! 

LET'S CONNECT

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Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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Let Go Of Perfection

Let Go Of Perfection

It is human nature to want to be good at what we do and to have our efforts recognised by others.  It makes us feel worthwhile, valued and it leaves us with a proud sense of achievement. But if you feel like you have to do things perfectly and that near enough is absolutely not good enough, then you may be afflicted by the curse of perfectionism.

Striving for perfection is a recipe for failure.  Perfection quite simply can not be attained!  Not at work, not in our relationships, not in our home. 


At work, perfectionists are obsessed with producing their best
, often setting unattainable goals.  They take longer than most to get their work done while they focus on the tiny details and burying themselves in their quest for getting things right.  As a leader they tend to be unreasonably demanding.  They will often micromanage their team; unable to let go for fear of less than perfect outcomes. 

For all their diligence, perfectionists also tend to procrastinate.  They are fearful of not getting things right so avoid getting started.  They struggle to get their work finished given the high, unachievable standards they have set.

And the genuine support coming from both senior men and women from within organisations is increasingly positive.

Perfectionism goes way beyond being a high achiever.  High achievers tend to be pulled toward their goals by a desire to achieve, they enjoy pursuing the goal and are satisfied with something close to excellence, while perfectionists are driven to act out of fear of not reaching their goals and see anything less than perfect as a failure.

The need for perfection most likely stems from interactions with our parents, teachers and peers in our childhood.  Being praised for high grades at school, encouraged to do better and try our hardest or chastised for a slip in results.  It is not the comments themselves, but the interpretation of these interactions through the eyes of a child, that leads to perfectionistic habits and behaviours as an adult.

Many have a love hate relationship with their need to be perfect.  It fuels and drives them to achieve but backfires when they become overly critical of themselves and of others.  It can get them into trouble when they become so lost in the detail they fail to move forward at the pace required in todays workplace. 

Are you a perfectionist at work?  Do any of these resonate with you?

  • It takes you much longer than others to complete reports
  • You agonise over the phrasing in an email
  • You feel overwhelmed about getting started on a new project
  • You miss deadlines, preferring to wait until your work is 100% on the mark
  • You are constantly burning the midnight oil trying to stay on top of things, often missing out on family and personal time
  • You stew for days or even weeks over errors in your work
  • You get stuck in one task, trying to get it perfect and never moving to the next task

The cost of your perfectionism can be a reputation for being slow or unreliable. In todays fast paced work environment, highly productive people who get the job done in a quick timeframe, are who employers will think of for promotion or exciting projects.

But sometimes the biggest cost…. is the cost to health.  Research has shown that perfectionists are more prone to suffer from anxiety, stress and persistent fatigue.  Perfectionists tend to fear not being able to live up to their own standards or beat themselves up and wallow in negative feelings when their high expectations are not met.

So do you see yourself in any of these scenarios?

Here are 3 Steps To Overcoming Your Habit of Perfection

1.  Recognise what your perfectionism is costing you.  Pain is a great motivator!  Identify what your perfectionist ways are costing you in terms of your career progress, your health, fun time with your family.

2.  Prioritise your most important tasks.  You most likely bring your perfection strategies to every area of you work.  In some areas of your work, your diligence and pursuit for excellence is a strength (eg: completing budgets, drafting board reports etc) while in other areas (emails to colleagues, weekly meeting agendas etc) your need for 100% is slowing you down, holding you back and quite possibly stressing you out.

Pick the top 5 tasks where your focus on detail is critical and allow yourself to pursue excellence in these priority areas.  For the rest, turn back the dial to 80 – 90%.  You may be surprised by how few people notice any difference in your effort.

3.  Set realistic Goals. “Good enough” is a term that strikes fear in most perfectionists but is a goal worth pursuing….. why? Because you are more likely to get the job done and on time! A reputation of poor productivity and failing to get work finished on time is a massive stumbling block for career progression.

Striving for high standards, of course can be beneficial.  But at some point it becomes debilitating and self-defeating.  You may feel a sense of control when you are doing things absolutely perfectly… while in fact your perfectionist ways are controlling you.  Letting go of these long held habits may take time but you will find it is well worth the effort.

Start today, by acknowledging what your perfectionist ways are costing you.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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