Life

4 Clever Ways To Work Smarter Instead Of Working Harder

Create a schedule that you love

Design your ideal schedule and fill it with the things you love to do. Invite more productivity in your life with reasonable expectations of what you can accomplish — then slowly, work your way up. Allocate your free time with purpose, so that at the end of the day, you aren’t left wondering where it all went. Even if you spend three hours doing nothing, be in control of those three hours. To help you do that, build a schedule that supports a healthy, balanced life of work and play. A schedule that supports you in becoming the best version of yourself.

For the majority of your day, your activities are decided for you — work, transit, study, chores. But, those in-between hours are what truly define the quality and direction of your life. Give them a purpose. Dedicate them to things that nourish your soul, benefit your mental health and help you work towards your goals.

Follow in someone’s footsteps

Somewhere in the world, someone’s living the life you’ve always dreamed of. Someone has accomplished all of the things that inspire you to work harder, acquired every element of the career you’ve always wanted. Find that person, study their path and aspire to it. This person doesn’t have to be a titan of your industry, or even among the most successful. But, their level of success should impress the hell out of you, and should serve as a vision of what’s possible in your life. They should serve as a reminder of what’s waiting for you at the peak of your journey, as a motivator to keep going when the going gets tough, just as they did.

Reach out to them for an opportunity to pick their brain, ask questions, maybe shadow them for a day. You’d be surprised by how many people are willing to make time for those who are just starting out. Because at one point in time, each and every one of them was just starting out themselves, and many successful people know how rewarding it feels to pay it forward.

Work smarter by following a path that has successfully led someone to a place where you want to be. If it feels right, don’t hesitate to change directions, forge a new path and make it your own. But when you feel lost, you can always follow the lead of those who came before you.

Do things that aren’t work, to help you work

It’s amazing how even the most random activities can benefit you in your work. From taking a long walk in the forest to letting your body go absolutely wild as you blast your favourite song, your creative brain loves to be stimulated and challenged in all kinds of unique ways. If you’ve hit a mental block or can’t work out a solution to a problem, go paint it out. Call up the friend that you love to laugh with and leave your work at your desk where it belongs. When it’s time to break, take the break — and be open-minded and playful in what you choose to do with it. Your brain will benefit from the chance to exercise in abstract ways. When you return back to your work, you’ll have the capacity to dive deeper than ever.

Let your expectations go

Set goals and work towards them daily, but don’t expect each day’s work to be better than the last. Some days, you will be thrilled with the things you’re able to cross off of your list. Other days, you’ll produce work that you aren’t proud of. And on those days, instead of making a judgement and getting hung up on negative or discouraging thoughts, remind yourself that making the choice to work is more important than its quality. Because the quality of your work will inevitably improve, slowly but surely, if you continue to make the time to do it to the best of your ability. So, when you sit down and do it, avoid expectation. This may or may not be a day that amazing work gets done. This may or may not the project that goes anywhere. But, regardless of where your project goes, you are moving forward — and that’s indisputable.

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Editor, Narcity Canada. Voracious appetite for coffee and true crime. Follow Lilly on Instagram or read more articles from Lilly on Thought Catalog.