A project managers’ guide to working smarter and not harder

Being a good project manager is a serious process as the profession is all about facing new challenges. As a project manager, it has always been quite overwhelming for me to delegate countless tasks and handle them. There is no pause button for us and we have to stay on top each project to make sure things move as they should. Possibly, there are many things we can learn from the things happening around us. An old saying that has obtained credit for long, “working smarter and not harder” has always given me better ways of working.

What does it mean to work smart?

How do you define working smart? I have seen people burning midnight oil to reach their goal, working so hard and still not succeeding at the things. What went wrong? The simple secret is : Smart work. Working hard is just not enough, sometimes we need to find our ways of working smarter to achieve our desired outcome. The phrase “work smart” is different for each one of us that defines our success. Say to yourself everyday, “I will make smart decisions” and work on your smart decisions in a smart way.

So where can you start when you want to work smarter?

Eat that frog

“If your job is to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if your job is to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” -Mark Twain

In Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy emphasized on developing a routine of eating your frog before you do anything else which is vital to effective time management. He tells us how to stop procrastinating and get more of the important tasks done today. And this is one of the secrets to working smart. Make a list of what is your “frog?” — your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate. Once you have chosen your “frog” make it a habit to do that task first and once you do that it will give you the energy for the rest of the day.

Learn to use the technology well

There is no doubt that the technology helps us work smarter. We are all fortunate to be a part of a tech-savvy generation. With the benefits of smarter tools like project management tools staying on top of your workload becomes simpler. It helps to juggle multiple projects and workflows to help you make your workflow efficient. On top of that, a project management tool is a faithful friend when in chaos and will help you accomplish more in less time.

Set clear boundaries for your work hours

In this guide for project managers the best thing you can do for your work is preferred to have a regular work hour. When you first start a job, you should know what is important to you and how will you do what you want to do. If you keep on stretching your work because you know you have more hours to work , you will merely end up with incomplete tasks. Sit down and complete a part of your task in the certain number of hours and you are likely to respect your work time. You will probably work the best of your ability.

Take more breaks

The way you spend your lunch breaks will probably have a great effect on how productive you are. In a short period of time, things can probably be overwhelming due to daily stress. Therefore, we are laying emphasis on working smarter and not harder. Taking breaks is one of the most effective ways to get the creative juices flowing. Stephen Covey tells a story about a woodcutter in his book, he emphasizes on the act of woodcutter who continues cutting down trees with his blunt saw.

In this case, if the woodcutter had sharpened his saw, and went back to cutting the tree with a sharp blade, he would actually save time and hard work. Similarly, breaks at work should include a refreshing change of pace that will result in being more productive down the line.

If you master the above acts of working smart, your life will soon become easier than ever. When you adapt to the productive changes, things can probably be better. Give yourself new opportunities.

Written by: Vartika Kashyap

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