Working smart beats working hard. In some cases working more can actually damage the amount you get accomplished. In both cases, the degree effort matches outcomes has been overstated.
Working less and accomplishing more isn’t easy. It requires thinking creatively to find more effective ways of doing things. But first you have to be open to the possibility that your methods aren’t as efficient as they could be. Once you do that you can look for ways to get more accomplished without just increasing your to-do list.
Here are a few guidelines.
1: The 80/20 Rule
What Is the 80-20 Rule?
The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle , is an aphorism which asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event. In business, a goal of the 80-20 rule is to identify inputs that are potentially the most productive and make them the priority. For instance, once you identify factors that are critical to your success, you should give those factors the most focus.
Doing so would help you achieve more.
2: Manage Your Energy Well
Breaks your work into manageable tasks, and force yourself to single task on purpose within specific times.
And plan breaks on purpose.
When you work too hard and throw too much energy at a task, you could burn out without achieving real progress.
3: Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time available for its completion – means that if you give yourself a week to complete a two hour task, then (psychologically speaking) the task will increase in complexity and become more daunting so as to fill that week. It may not even fill the extra time with more work, but just stress and tension about having to get it done. By assigning the right amount of time to a task, we gain back more time and the task will reduce in complexity to its natural state.
I once read a response to Parkinson’s Law insinuating that if it were an accurate observation, one would be able to assign a time limit of one minute to a task and the task would become simple enough to complete within that minute. But Parkinson’s Law is exactly that – an observation, not some voodoo magic. It works because people give tasks longer than they really need, sometimes because they want some ‘leg room’ or buffer, but usually because they have an inflated idea of how long the task takes to complete. People don’t become fully aware of how quickly some tasks can be completed until they test this principle.
4: Do The Work You Love
Your career should make you feel good emotionally, both in and out of the office.
A job that you love gives you extra motivation to meet your goals, and when you do, the sense of accomplishment is outstanding.