One of the best aspects of a good idea is that it doesn’t really matter where you found it. A reader pointed us at a popular blog which surprised us with ten tips for working smarter.
The site is called The Frugal Model, and it’s run by a woman who is a full-time fashion model in New York City. But it’s not all about clothes, makeup, and beauty. Ashley Stetts blogs about her tips for saving money, making healthy choices, and living in one of the most expensive places in the world on a shoestring budget.
She also wrote How to Work Smarter With These 10 Tips and makes a great point in her opening paragraph:
It’s easy for time and even days to get away from you when you’re not working efficiently.
All of her tips are excellent, but a handful are worth further review:
Declutter your desk: Disorder hurts your ability to focus. Since attention is programmed to pick up whats novel, visible files will remind you of unfinished tasks, while an unread book (or cookies, or bills or your cat) could tempt you to procrastinate.
We’ve covered the role of clutter in the workplace before. It may not seem surprising that a clear space will help you focus, but the act of cleaning is also cathartic. When you decide to organize your things and wipe down your desk, you are setting a short-term task that you know you can accomplish and that you will be able to see happen in front of you. Try it!
Give 90 minutes to priorities: No matter how crazy your days get, make sure you carve out 90 minutes (just 20% of your 8 hour day) for your most important tasks.
There are countless versions of this advice. Whether it’s have one goal for the day or set a timer and work for a set period of time, it’s worth considering. Having the ability to set objectives and then meet them is the very essence of being productive. Even if you get nothing else done, an hour or two of important tasks can make all the difference in your company and in your level of personal satisfaction.
Learn your HVA’s: These are “High Value Activities” – tasks that are within your mission, leverage your strengths, and create impact or change for you…these tend to be things that come more naturally and that you are more efficient at.
The old saying is that efficiency is doing things right, but effectiveness is doing the right things. Figure out what has the most impact and make sure you get that done.
And finally, the Frugal Model advises:
Pay attention to energy levels: You can’t operate at peak performance all day long. When you’re feeling your best, concentrate on the activities that are most important or intensive, like writing, brainstorming or important decision making. When you’re tired and feeling foggy, do your relatively mindless activities like dealing with routine emails.
Emotional state has a huge effect on how well we work. You already know if you prefer the morning, afternoon, or evening. You’re almost certainly aware how coffee or other mild stimulants work for you. You probably know what is best to schedule on Monday and what is best to schedule on Friday. Why not use this information to your advantage?
And finally: remember that a good idea can come from anywhere. The Frugal Model has great advice for being more productive. Your employees, colleagues, vendors, or other associates may inspire something that could change your routine or your entire business. Always be open to different points of view. And although the source is worth considering, a great idea can be anywhere.