"The phrase “work smart” is different for every person depending on their unique personal mission statement and definition of success. It defines leveraging other people’s time and money and having an immense amount of self-awareness. 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."
- Forbes, 2016
Regardless of the above beautiful definition of working smart, most people still adhere to the erroneous belief that you must work really hard and put in long hours in order to make a lot of money. However, the reality is that many of the most successful people in the world embrace the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy. Ultimately, the quality of your life is going to be determined by how you use all of your waking moments. Due to this, finding ways to maximize your off time without sacrificing your business goals is one of the major keys to true success.
The most important thing to remember about working smarter instead of harder is that this will provide you with valuable extra time for cultivating personal interests and relationships.
1. Surround Yourself with Talented People
Every entrepreneur that is able to achieve great heights of financial success understands that they cannot possibly do everything alone. Not only will surrounding yourself with talented people help you reach your goals, but it will also give you the opportunity to delegate an increasingly larger list of important tasks. If you are currently juggling too many work tasks to take a break during the day, you need to reassess your staff and make any necessary changes. Always remember that your staff can make or break your business.
2. Outsource as Many Tasks as Possible
Would you rather spend an entire day putting together your company’s payroll or spend that time relaxing with your family? By outsourcing tasks such as payroll to qualified businesses and individuals, you can save a lot of time and energy. As an added bonus, this can also save you the costly mistakes that often accompany working for an exorbitant amount of time on a weekly basis. As management consultant Tom Peters once said, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.”
3. Capture Every Worthwhile Opportunity
You will be presented with many business opportunities, but that does not mean you need to take all of them on. Instead, sort through your options to choose those that will increase your profits without forcing you to do a lot more work. For example, companies such as Redirect help businesses monetize their website by redirecting traffic in an appropriate manner. This does not require any regular work or input from the business owner, but it will generate additional income. In other words, this is the perfect example of a worthy opportunity.
4. Take Breaks in Nature
This might not seem like a technique that has anything to do with maximizing your work time, but there is scientific evidence that spending time in nature will make you a more efficient worker. Even a 15-minute walk through the woods will provide you with restorative benefits and make you more capable of producing high-quality work in a shorter period of time.
5. Structure Your Meetings
Have you ever worked somewhere that had meetings about meetings? This seemingly farcical example is actually a way of life for some businesses, but you cannot afford to give away your valuable time in this manner. One of the biggest ways to waste money in the business world is by allowing meetings to stretch on for an excessive amount of time. That being said, you’ll need to kill meetings to get more done. Therefore, choose to structure your meetings instead so you can ensure that everything will be kept within a short period of time. Another perk of this approach is that your employees will learn how to be more concise while communicating about all aspects of their job.
By simply making more effective use of your time and cutting out anything unnecessary, you can improve your income to work time ratio. Adding in money making opportunities that do not require a large time commitment will also make it easier to meet your goals. Additionally, you can improve the quality of your personal and work lives by taking regular nature walks.