You know I’m all about working smarter, not necessarily just working hard. I think working smart is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself, your business, & your team.
Granted, Michael would say that he taught me this & yes, he has definitely taught me about working smarter. But I’ve also learned it from people like Ed Mylett, Tim Ferriss, Rachel Hollis & once in a while I find unique tips on Instagram on how to work smarter.
These are 14 tips that I found through @winnersthings, but I’ve tailored them to be my own & showcase how I’ve used each of these tips. Ready to start learning to work smarter? Let’s get right into it:
14 WAYS TO WORK SMARTER, TSC STYLE
1. Plan out your weeks & days in advance.
I actually hired someone who only works on my calendar & it’s changed my life. Everything is planned out weeks & months in advance. My calendar is color-coded so it’s easy to know what’s going on at a glance. It includes time to shower, read, workout, & even time to drive to any appointments or meetings.
2. Invest in learning.
I always talk about Skillshare on TSC Him & Her podcast. This is a platform you can go on & it has over 20,000 classes that you can do from the of your bed ( just put a pillow under your computer, on top of your legs so you don’t get any radiation, LOL ). Anyways, Skillshare is a great way to learn but you can also take 1 hour every morning to actively listening to a really knowledgeable podcast ( which I just did a post on ). You can listen to books on tape, & create relationships with people who are interesting & knowledgeable. These 3 things are things I do every single day. When I’m driving, doing my makeup or cooking, I like to listen to a podcast. My calendar has time for me to read for 30 minutes before I go to bed & I listen to books on tape when I travel. Through the podcast, we meet so many interesting people so I love to dive deep & absorb anything they have to say.
3. Automate tasks.
Almost all my bills are on automate so I don’t have to sort through emails & individually pay each one. Postmates & Uber are really good ways to automate because it saves you time. I love working on my phone while I take an Uber or get a blowout. I feel like automatic tasks & repetitive tasks also kinda goes into time-blocking, which we’ll get into.
4. Use ‘do not disturb’ on your phone.
This is something I have on all the time. My phone is on airplane at night, almost always on silent mode & notifications for all my apps are turned off. Like, I never ever ever have my ringer or text tones on. It’s so distracting.
5. Don’t multitask.
This is a hard one for me because I like passively multitasking. If it’s a serious task I’ll only do that one thing while time-batching & using a time cube. This time cube is so perfect because you set the time & only do your tasks for that amount of time. You can also block similar tasks together. This is perfect for keeping yourself limited to only checking emails for an hour, or spending 15 minutes cleaning up your office. It really helps you not get too carried away.
6. Do important work only.
This is also called ‘The Ivy Lee Method’ ( more here ) which basically is writing down your 6 most important tasks for the day, with the MOST important being at the top. If we’re being honest, sometimes I do 7.
The benefit of The Ivy Lee Method is kind of like time-blocking. You focus on one task ( if you haven’t tried time-blocking, get on board ), & it allows you to focus on your priorities so you don’t get caught up in the riff raff.
♡ It’s simple, so it actually works. All you need is paper & a pen.
♡ Makes you prioritize. 6 is the magic number here. Don’t overwhelm yourself with 20 tasks- only write down 6.
♡ Takes the guesswork out of ‘starting.’ How much wasting time ‘thinking’ about what you should do first? When you have a prioritized list, it’s clearly laid out in front of you.
♡ It makes you SINGLE-TASK. You guys know I’m all about multitasking, but paying attention and focussing my energy levels on one thing at a time is also hugely important.
♡ It can encourage a healthier work-life balance. As an entrepreneur this can be really tricky so anything that helps is welcome to be honest.
To sum it up, this productivity hack helps with concentration, increasing productivity, keeps you organized, & allows your brain to marinate on what you’ve done.
7. Become organized.
My workspace has to be very neat & organized before I start working. The whole environment needs to be on point. This means oils diffusing, candles lit, desk clear, & having my calendar all set helps with this too.
8. Limit doing email to 3x per day or less.
I like to go through my email around 10:30 am and 8:30 pm. That’s it. I don’t want to be living in my inbox & be working off everyone’s to-do list. I learned this the hard way.
9. Measure results, not time.
A lot of people talk about how much they were spending time on something instead of the result of their work. Michael is a good example of someone who measures results, not time.
10. Stick to a routine.
I love a routine, especially a morning routine. I like to start the day with light, movement & hydration, my specific fiber-filled coffee, spa water ,sometimes listen to music & thinking time. I’m meticulous about this because it really set up the whole day. Getting in a good head space is important before starting to answer emails & messages. My nighttime routine stays the same too. The day usually ends with some hot mushroom cacao, my skin care routine & reading.
11. Work in blocks.
This falls into the time-batching/ time cube one. It really keeps you focussed on blocks of time – one task at a time. But I also work by blocking days for certain things. Tuesdays are for team meetings, Wednesdays are usually when I schedule all my phone calls, Thursdays are for photo shoots- you get it. This helps save time and energy & keeps things productive & efficient.
12. Turn off notifications for unimportant apps.
13. Relieve Stress.
This is an important one- self care. I love to get facials & return emails at the same time. Or walk on the treadmill while I have a call. Finding ways to relieve stress while also working makes me feel productive & like I’m working smarter not harder. You don’t want to be all messed up – care for your mental health is very important.
14. Find tasks to eliminate.
This has been the hardest because I want to say yes to everything, but as my business has grown over the last 9 years, I realized I need to put my energy towards things that are productive. I’m very careful where I put my energy & my calendar has helped a lot with this. I’ve eliminated a lot of tasks that are out of office. For example I’m not a big networker– I like to be in bed by 9:30, not up late socializing.
I hope this post resonated with you. It was really fun for me to talk about this because it’s something I’m very very passionate about. Would love to know how you guys work smarter.
If you’re new to this whole thing you have to read Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour WorkWeek. It really helped me realize how working smarter can really change your life.
With love from St. Tropez,
+ read more about the Ivy Lee Method.
++ scope my answers to Tim Ferriss’ Tribe of Mentors questions.