“Work smarter, not harder,” is a phrase many workers have heard throughout their careers. A phrase that often conjures the image of a high-level executive on a beach with a smart phone and cocktail in hand.  The phrase touches on an individual’s emotional and intellectual desire to “have it all,” but doesn’t really tell anyone how to go about working smart, not hard.

The phrase “work smart” is different for every person depending on their unique personal mission statement and definition of success.  Having self-awareness allows an individual to prioritize his or her own needs, ask for help, cut losses, and build upon strengths in an intentional manner. In other words, working smart essentially means figuring out what your strengths are and building a network around you to build upon those in order to reach goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

Hopefully this will work for you

  • Make a “to don’t” list and place it next to “to do” list. Stick to that.
  • Carry a notebook and a pen : write ideas that poop in your head “always”
  • Hone your elevator speech: be able to explain who you are, what you do, and why someone could benefit from your unique talents
  • Establish an opening ritual: try to begin your day the same way. If you work at home, maybe take a short walk before you go to your office. Have a cup of tea or read or meditate before starting your work. An opening ritual will ease your mind, body and soul into the day.
  • Establish a closing ritual: know when to stop working. Try to end each work day the same way too. Straighten up your desk, back up your computer, make a list of what you want to do tomorrow.
  • Get used to…: “Projects collapse, Money evaporates, Customers go wiggy, Get over it. That’s the way it works.
  • Learn: Become a learning machine. Ask questions. Take smart people to lunch. Read and read more. Listen to audio books. Take classes. Go to great places to network. This makes life more interesting.
  • Failing is ok. Not failing is not ok. If you don’t flop every so often, you are not trying hard enough.
  • Guard your calendar: Focus on one or two top priorities.
  • Be paranoid: The good times won’t last.
  • Don’t be paranoid: The bad times won’t last.
  • Never say upfront you can beat a deadline.
  • Be quick but don’t hurry.
  • Respond to calls and emails quickly.
  • Spend 10 minutes today laughing out loud.
  • Take a “Sabbath” : choose one day during a week when you don’t work… respecting your own Sabbath will be good for your soul.
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