We are told all the time that productivity and success require working smarter and not harder. But what exactly are we doing that is causing us to work harder and how are these habits hindering our quests for a healthy work-life balance?
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While working hard is necessary in achieving success and reaching life-long goals, there are instances where working smarter achieves the same result, except with a lot less time and energy invested. In fact, because of the time and energy saved when working smart, you can actually become more productive and more successful than toiling away over your desk your whole life. Here are three ways you may be working harder and not smarter – when you really don’t need to.
1. You’re Not Taking Breaks
Peak performance requires occasionally recharging and since most of us are only able to remain completely focused for 90 minutes at a time (and sometimes less for creatives), breaks are necessary in resetting our attention spans. Although it’s a common practice to reach for a our favorite caffeinated beverage when we start losing energy or motivation, a 15 to 20 minute break is far more effective in recharging and refocusing. Plus, you also avoid the sugar/caffeine crash later.
2. You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep
It’s important to get a good night’s rest – or day’s rest if you’re a night owl. It is equally important to get into the habit of napping. Besides being good for our hearts and long-term health, naps have a “restorative effect” and help to consolidate memories and remember new information, both required elements in productivity.
3. You’re Not Tackling Big Issues First
Sometimes going for the easy tasks gives us a sense of accomplishment and makes us feel as though we’re starting the day out on the right foot. However, ignoring potential issues or putting off more difficult tasks until crunch time, not only affect the smaller tasks negatively, but can result in more work at the end of the day than if we had just addressed and handled the problems in the first place. Besides that, those issues will be on your mind the entire day until you deal with them, which could potentially slow you down more.
Most of working smarter means insuring that our spiritual, physical, social/emotional, and mental areas are well-balanced, which is difficult to reach if we are continuously ignoring one or more parts in order to work harder.
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