Dr. Helen

How to work smarter, not harder

I thought this post at the New York Observer on working smarter, not harder had some good tips on making the best use of your time that readers might appreciate:

Here’s the secret: Optimize your work life so that you maximize your results.

I’ve put together a list of the top 10 ways to optimize your productivity.

I’ve never shared this list – until now.

Here are the top 10:

1) Pull a Mark Zuckerberg – Did you know that he wears a grey t-shirt all the time? Here’s his explanation: “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. I’m in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people. And I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.” (This quote is from this article: Why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same clothes to work everyday) Here’s my point: simplify your life. Reduce the amount of trivial decisions you have to make every day so that you can focus you energy on the really important ones. Pull a Mark Zuckerberg. Oh, did I mention that Steve Jobs does this too?Just saying.

2) Use the 20 feet rule – Let’s say you’re working on a project at work. Have you ever stopped to check your phone randomly to look at Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat? If you’re doing this multiple times within an hour, it might be hurting your productivity. If your cell phone isn’t absolutely critical to your job, put it somewhere that is 20 feet away from your desk. This forces you to do quite a bit of walking to check your phone and helps you to focus on the work at hand.

I actually started doing tip #1 sometime back when traveling as I couldn’t pack much for a one month stay in California. I had about three outfits and bought a few things while in LA and mixed and matched the same outfit for a month. I felt so much freer and had more time to work, write or do other things that were more important to me at the time.

I now have about three or four pairs of pants that I wear and a bunch of tops that make getting dressed easy. That said, when you have a job where you have to dress up all the time as part of the job, it would be hard to pull this off. But if you blog, write, and work on the phone, it is definitely doable.