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Work smarter, not harder: 20 home office hacks you wish you knew sooner

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Picture by Shutterstock

This is branded content for ENTR Media.

Who wants to work harder?

The saying "work smarter, not harder" has gained more significance in today's hectic society.

It's about making the most of your working methods to produce greater results while avoiding wasting time or money. This philosophy focuses on using intelligence, creativity, and strategic thinking to do jobs more quickly rather than taking shortcuts.

But how exactly do you achieve this? Read on to find out how you can become the envy of your team.

Key takeaways:

  • Embracing smarter work strategies can enhance efficiency and outcomes.
  • Working smarter involves prioritising, utilising technology, and delegating.
  • Investing in a height-adjustable desk and ergonomic chair is one of the best methods to upgrade your workspace and quality of life.

What is the goal of working smarter, not harder?

Working smarter, not harder, aims to reduce needless effort and burnout while increasing productivity and efficiency.

It entails employing methods, instruments, and tactics to produce the best outcomes with the least amount of effort, time, and money.

Individuals and organisations can do more in less time by concentrating on efficiency and effectiveness, freeing up resources for other crucial activities or for personal well-being.

The ultimate goal is to produce better results with less strain and stress, which will result in a more meaningful and long-lasting career.

Our tips to work smarter

1 - Set yourself clear and practical goals

Establish clear, measurable, realistic, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives first. If you're a writer, for example, your objective can be to finish a specific number of articles by the end of the month.

Divide these overarching objectives into more manageable, achievable tasks. If your objective is to create ten articles, for instance, divide it up into daily or weekly goals to make sure you make continuous progress.

2 - Improve your workspace

By making the most of your area, you can establish a setting that encourages concentration and production. Not only will you appreciate it more, but you can make your desk look amazing as well.

To reduce distractions and improve comfort, spend money on organising supplies, invest in a good standing desk and other ergonomic furniture such as office chairs, and use appropriate lighting.

A good starting point is to take a look at what local Australian brands have to offer such as UpDown and Desky. UpDown is a leading manufacturer of quality manual and electric sit-stand and all the standing desk accessories you need to take your workspace to the next level.

To prevent neck pain, tidy your workspace, set your monitor at eye level, and drown out distractions with background music or noise-cancelling headphones.

3 - Group up tasks to maximise efficiency

Set task priorities by using the Eisenhower Matrix to group tasks according to their urgency and significance.

Prioritising important but non-urgent jobs should come after those that are both urgent and vital. Those that are important but not urgent should be delegated, and those that are neither important nor urgent should be dropped or put off.

Using this approach will assist you in concentrating your time and efforts on the most important activities.

4 - Excel in time management

Use time management strategies like the Pomodoro Technique, which alternates brief intervals of focused work with rest periods.

To organise your work and allot time for each activity, use tools such as task management applications or digital calendars.

Set aside specified periods of time for concentrated work to avoid distractions, and utilise technologies like website blockers to reduce interruptions.

Picture by Shutterstock
Picture by Shutterstock

5 - Delegate tasks to others

This is one of my favourites. Determine which duties, including data entry, research, or administrative work, can be assigned to others.

Assign these responsibilities to team members, helpers, or independent contractors to free up your time for work that needs your strategic thinking or area of expertise.

Give precise directions and guidelines to guarantee that the assigned work is finished quickly and successfully.

Identify time-consuming or repetitive processes that can be automated with software tools or workflows.

6 - Automate those chores

For instance, you can use project management software to automate work assignments and reminders, or you can use email filters and templates to automate email responses.

Setting up business automation systems takes work up front, but it will save you time and effort later.

7 - Learn to say 'no'

Develop your ability to say no by carefully weighing offers and commitments and being prepared to turn down work that doesn't fit with your priorities or objectives.

Use assertive communication strategies to firmly but respectfully refuse demands and, when necessary, suggest compromises or alternatives.

By learning to say no, you may prevent overcommitting and concentrate your time and efforts on things that are genuinely important.

8 - Instead of multitasking, try monotasking

Give up the urge to multitask and concentrate on finishing one task at a time with your full attention.

Monotasking is a technique that can increase focus, output, and the calibre of your work.

For instance, shut down any tabs or applications that aren't needed when producing a report, disable any alerts, and set aside a specific amount of time to write uninterrupted.

9 - Seek continuous improvement

Examine your workflows and procedures on a regular basis to find inefficiencies or potential areas for improvement. To improve your workflow, get input from mentors or coworkers, and don't be afraid to test new tools or methods.

To improve your skills and expertise, stay up to date on industry trends and best practices and make continual investments in learning and growth.

Make sure you are also keeping your desk organised for less stress and distractions.

10 - Use apps to maintain organisation

Use digital tools to help you stay on top of your chores and projects. You can track task progress and manage your to-do lists with the use of apps like Trello or Todoist.

As an illustration, you can make distinct boards or lists for various projects or categories, establish due dates, and rank tasks according to their urgency and relevance.

To make sure nothing is missed, these apps also provide features like notifications and reminders.

11 - Use apps to streamline workflows

Using productivity applications and software, automate repetitive processes might help you streamline your workflow.

For example, you may construct automated workflows, or "Zaps," that connect various apps and trigger activities depending on predetermined parameters using platforms like Zapier or IFTTT.

You can use Zaps, for instance, to create calendar events from emails or to automatically save email attachments to your cloud storage.

Picture by Shutterstock
Picture by Shutterstock

12 - Disable distracting notifications

Take charge of your digital distractions by turning off notifications that aren't necessary on your gadgets and applications. For instance, during concentrated work periods, turn off the notifications for chat applications, email alerts, and social networking apps.

Instead of letting alerts interfere with your daily tasks, schedule specified times to review and reply to them.

13 - Learn keyboard shortcuts

By learning the shortcuts for frequently used commands and activities in your preferred programs and software, you may expedite your workflow and lessen repetitive strain.

Learn shortcuts, for instance, for operations like pasting and copying, formatting text, switching between windows or tabs, and accessing commonly used menus or tools.

14 - Create a useful to-do list

Make a manageable and realistic to-do list by concentrating on items that fit your priorities and objectives. To make bigger jobs more manageable and attainable, divide them into smaller, doable pieces.

For instance, split down the job "write report" into smaller ones, such as "research topic," "outline sections," and "draft introduction," rather than just naming it.

15 - When possible, use AI

One of the increasingly popular office hacks for better productivity is related to artificial intelligence (AI) to increase productivity and streamline tasks.

Use AI-driven analytics tools to extract insights from big datasets, virtual assistants like Siri or Google Assistant to make appointments or create reminders, and grammar and spell checkers with AI capabilities to review texts.

Other popular AI tools include ChatGBT, perplexity and Gemini.

16 - Block out your calendar

By designating times on your calendar for particular chores and projects, you can safeguard your time and prioritise concentrated effort.

To make sure you allot time for crucial tasks and prevent overcommitting, set up specific blocks of time on your calendar for intense work, meetings, and personal activities.

17 - Keep track of task time

Keep an eye on your time usage to spot inefficiencies and areas that could use better.

To track the amount of time spent on various tasks and projects, use time tracking applications or the built-in functionality of project management software.

Examine this data to spot trends, better manage your time, and decide what needs to be prioritised in terms of time and resources.

18 - Go outside during scheduled breaks

Take regular pauses during the day to rejuvenate your body and mind by going outside.

Take a little stroll outside or enjoy a change of scenery to lower stress, foster creativity, and enhance general well-being (and also burn some calories while at the office).

Plan brief breaks, for instance, to get up and move around, breathe in some fresh air, and clear your head before returning to work after a job or meeting.

19 - Recognise your peak productivity periods

Determine when you are most productive depending on your preferred methods of working and natural energy cycles.

Plan your most difficult or significant assignments for these periods to take advantage of your best work. If you're an early riser, for instance, focus on difficult or creative assignments first thing in the morning when your energy is at its peak.

20 - Concentrate on high-impact tasks

Give top priority to assignments and initiatives that will most likely help you achieve your goals and objectives.

Determine which tasks provide the best return on investment (ROI) in terms of resources, time, and effort. For instance, concentrate on tasks that are in line with your long-term aims and vision, strategic initiatives, or projects that will bring in money.

You may increase productivity and get significant outcomes by focusing your attention on high-impact tasks.