Subject: Work smarter, not harder

Dolly parton 9-5

As soon as the clock chimes 5.30pm, I am out of my office faster than you can say ‘adios’. But, this has not always been the case. For years I thought, ‘if I stay late my boss will think I am a hard worker’; ‘I just need to write two more emails’; ‘by staying late I am proving to myself and my co-workers that I am serious about my internship.’

There is a hefty debate to whether staying late is a help or a hindrance when you are starting out in your career. Some argue that you should be the last to leave the office, and it is a big no-no to leave before your boss does. However, there is a way that you can work smart and get the recognition for your hard work instead of dragging your tired self home at 9pm on a Tuesday.

The notion that working late equals working hard, is so 2008. You will get burned out, take sick days and actually begin to resent your job. This will all lead to decreased productivity and as a result of this, mental health problems such as anxiety or acute stress.

So, the motto here ladies and gents are: “Work smarter, not harder”

And because we love to make your life easier, swat up on these top tips for a more efficient working day.

1. Write a to-do list at the end of the day, for the next day. I tend to write everything I can think that I have to do that next day, and that way as soon as I leave the office, I can relax. Think of it as emptying your mental to-do list on to paper.

2. Ease up on the caffeine – cut back on the coffee as soon as lunch hits. This will save you an afternoon of feeling jittery, and wanting to continue working into the evening, when you could be doing some relaxing yoga, or catching up with friends.

3. Divide your to-do list up into levels of importance and highlight the top three tasks. Continue this throughout the day.

4. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with how much work you have to do, find a quiet space and do a short meditation, or breathing exercise (need some inspiration – check out this video).

5. TAKE. YOUR. LUNCH. BREAK. No arguments. It is so important to take time out to enjoy a healthy lunch. Walk around a park and take in some sun-rays. You will come back to your workplace in the afternoon feeling refreshed and ready to boss your afternoon to do-list.

6. Put your phone in your bag. Before you know it, you have wasted 3 hours and 40 minutes scrolling through social media like a mad-person and wasted precious working time. It’s all about will-power, and even the laziest of us have it.

7. Slow down. Don’t rush through your work. If you are being asked to do a task from someone higher up, ask for a deadline, and if you think you realistically can’t meet that deadline, request more time. You will save time and energy not having to re-do something that you rushed. 

Only you know what your limits are at work. Your performance will speak volumes rather than how many hours you put in.

Good luck!