I’m always hearing people say they need to work harder, even though they are resembling sleep deprived zombies. I’d like to say that I’ve found a sort of happy medium between kicking my days butt at work, smashing out work in the evening all while achieving a solid 8 hours of sleep, WHILST still getting up at 6am.
I’ve learnt a few things through University and a stressful workload, those include eating well, writing to-do lists and getting a good nights sleep. At University I would try and go to sleep at 2am but lie awake for hours constantly stressing, panicking about how much work I had to do. It was a living nightmare. Throughout GCSE’s and A-Levels I would constantly make myself ill with tonsillitis purely due to stress. I’d like to say that after 6 years I’ve finally managed to go a couple of years without getting too ill and keeping my 8 hours sleep up.
My tips on working smarter rather than harder are important. You shouldn’t have to push yourself hard enough that it leaves you ill and sleep deprived.
Write a to-do list before you go to bed
I have a little A7 brown book that I keep in my bag to carry around so that if I remember something I’ve forgotten, I can quickly add it in before I forget again. Being so busy usually means I forget the odd thing so this book is my life. I write a to-do list before going to bed because it means I won’t stress as much in bed. Knowing it’s being taken care of means I can sleep a little bit better.
Do 30 minutes of work as soon as you’re awake
I get up at 6am and leave for work at 7.30am. I get up, showered and dressed by 7, then get everything ready for work and spend around 30 minutes in the morning replying to emails, finishing up a blog post or if I’m super prepared then scheduling tweets. I haven’t woken up any earlier than I usually did, I just get ready quicker, planning what I’m going to wear the night before so I can justify those 30 minutes of admin/things I can complete in the morning.
Find 30 minutes wherever you can
It may sound silly, but I use those 30 minutes in the morning so efficiently. Not only this, but as soon as I get home from work I spend 30 minutes doing the same thing. That’s an hour of admin/blog/email work each day. If you even have a spare 20 minutes then grab a cup of coffee and use the time effectively.
Just don’t come home and get into bed
Sometimes I will fool myself with a ‘ooh that bed looks warm, I’ll get into bed but I WILL work hard and will definitely not scroll through social media for 4 hours’ error no. Bed is for sleeping, bed isn’t for working. To remain productive after work I’ll grab my laptop and sit at my kitchen table from 6pm-9.30pm to ensure I actually make some progress in the evenings. I hate wasting my evenings, especially as across the working week it means I could be losing out on over 16 hours a week. 16 hours of smart working. It all adds up.
Prioritise your workload
Once again, it may seem simple but prioritise what needs to be done that day, the following day and the at the weekend. On ‘notes’ on my phone I have a section for ‘need to do before bed’ ‘need to do before work’ ‘need to do by tomorrow evening’ and ‘tasks for the weekend’. Things like blog posts that can be done anytime get shoved to the weekend. Urgent tasks that will keep me up at night need to be finished that evening. Therefore try and prioritise the must-dos’ that way it’s off your brain at night and you are chomping through the tasks.
Those are a few of my tips for working smarter, not harder. We shouldn’t put ourselves under so much pressure to work constantly just to pay the bills, keep up with blogging, finish assignments. Find those spare minutes each to day to work smarter, that way you can tick off those tasks before bedtime and perhaps sleep a tad better.
Do you have any tips for working smarter, not harder?