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How To Maximize Your Time and Optimize Your Efforts

How can you maximize your time without increasing effort or spreading yourself too thin?  Can we stay on top of our to-do lists and not become overwhelmed by a full calendar?

The secret to achieving these things and handling whatever else life throws at us comes down to ‘working smarter, not harder.’

Understanding how to do this will help you keep moving forward but still have time for the finer things in life. That could include your family, friends, fun, or the amazingness of a comfortable couch and streaming videos.

Here are some tips that will keep you going at a normal clip without sacrificing life’s pleasures.

1) Make a to-do list

Lists help to keep you organized and on a step-by-step track toward goals or creating opportunities. A good list will also help you keep your work and commitments on task.

Take the lists a step further and create separate lists for each task/goal or opportunity. Having more than one list will make it easier to focus on your most important objectives.

You can ignore the distraction of the other tasks nagging you every time you seek out your list for the next actionable item.

And, yes, there may be crossovers between each list. However, there can be more satisfaction in completing tasks this way. Separated but duplicated “to do’s,” means taking that red pen on not just one, but two lists.

Now, you can potentially fool your brain (and that familiar inner voice) when you don’t want to work anymore that you’ve accomplished more than you thought!

I also recommend keeping those lists in an inspirational or decorative journal or notebook. Not losing lists, means no excuses for not knowing what things are next and/or need to be done.

Of course, the feeling of accomplishment will ensue by revisiting old lists and seeing all those cross-offs. Relish in the new lists that stream from their successes. It will keep you smartly on track and making lists for years to come.

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2) Find the balance between working smarter and working harder

Life is all about multi-tasking and juggling all your to-do’s, lists, and commitments. It is much more enjoyable and productive to do this in the smartest and most efficient way possible.

Do anywhere from 2-5 things every day toward each of your goals/opportunities. By the power of compound interest, things will happen.

You will soon be breathing an air of calm when you realize that by doing 2-5 things every day you could have up to 35 tasks done in a week, 70 tasks done in a month, and so on.

The feeling of not having to work at warp speed or accomplish everything in a short amount of time will bring calm to the mind. It can also create the freedom to enjoy your other activities.

3) Prioritize

When working toward goals, commitments, and/or achieving certain levels of success in entrepreneurship, it is sometimes hard to discern what seems most important to work on first.

Prioritize your workload by choosing to do the things that allow for the quickest and biggest payoff first.

Ask yourself which 2-5 things on your list(s) bring you closest to your goal. Just make sure you can actually do those without accomplishing the other tasks/things first.

Start with these and do them first. You will, in turn, get further faster, rather than wasting time on non-essential items. Save those non-essential time guzzlers and/or building block items for a rainy day.

4) Just begin

Still torn about how to prioritize your workload? Maybe most of your actionable items weigh equally on your to-do list.

Well, the smartest thing to do is not waste precious time over-analyzing which step to take. You could be thinking and deciding how to move forward and in that time already finished a work task, to begin with.

No stalling and no overthinking. Sometimes seizing the day and taking a step forward is the smartest choice of all.

4) Collaborate

Working smarter and not harder can be as simple as getting more like-minded people on board for your projects. Then you can split the work.

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In addition, with collaboration, you also reap the rewards of more ideas, more networking capabilities, more monetary investments, more inspiration, more accountability, and the list goes on and on.

There is power in collaboration so be smart and embrace it.

5) Ask for help

What you want is attainable, even though you might not be as experienced as others in regards to certain facets of life, career or family.

Do you have ideas? Are you desperately seeking a new career? Do you have goals that you are not quite sure how to reach?

Take the smart approach! If there is something out there you want or need and don’t know the steps to take, ask those who are already in the know for help. You have absolutely nothing to lose.

If someone isn’t interested in spreading their newfound knowledge, keep asking until you find someone who will. In most cases, this is a much smarter move timewise than wasting your precious time flailing around until you’ve finally gotten what you want/need. That search can take months and years. Not to mention the disappointment and heartache.

Searching for someone to help you may take a few emails or asking your peers and others in your network. However, that is something that will come around much quicker.

Not only do you gain the knowledge you are looking for straight from the source, but you may also open up new forms of collaboration and introductions to people you have never met before.

Now that is a gold mine! So ask away!

6) Creativity

If you are a numbers person or one who likes to follow a point-A-to- point-B approach, why not try to embrace your creative spirit. The smartest way to accomplish things isn’t always the most linear approach.

Consider stepping outside your box and allow new ways of thinking. Maybe taking the “scenic route” will lead to inspirations, revelations and new ways to approach your goals, collaborations, entrepreneurial ideas, to-do lists and so much more.

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7) Accountability

Be accountable for doing your few “to do’s” or work-related tasks every day. Now, you are not trying to make up time (which in reality you can never make up lost time) or pick up steam when there isn’t any to be had after a long day’s work, an emergency, or who knows what else.

Think of being accountable as saving your money. Just a few cents in savings a day or a small percentage out of a paycheck every week leads to big gains.

On the flip side, but also essential for the health of mind and body, is being accountable to yourself to step away from the work so you can rejuvenate and rest.

To keep on keeping on in the smartest and most efficient way possible, it’s essential so that you can come back with a renewed sense of spirit every day.

8) Organization

While to-do lists are definitely part of being organized in the idea of working smarter not harder, so is organizing everything and anything work-related.

The time wasted finding things in cluttered desks, messy file cabinets, mail piles, inboxes and document folders are detrimental to having a smart and efficient work life.

Clean them up. Make them orderly. And if it’s something you need often make sure it is quickly accessible and at your fingertips.

8) Commitment

Working smarter not harder does require commitment.

You need to be willing to not sweat the small stuff. It’s important to think smart and ask yourself any time you start a work-related task: Does this task affect my end goal? Is it time well spent?

Does the output equal the rewards? If the answer is a resounding yes, then keep on keeping on. If not, move right on. Onward and upward to the smarter and more efficient you!

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