As with most people who have life responsibilities such as family, work, friends, church, and of course personal self-recovery time, it’s easy to see how we can become over-worked, sometimes even to the point of exhaustion. I recently read the book The 4 Hour Work-Week, by Timothy Ferris. I felt as if I was working all the time and much too hard. The concepts that I learned from reading the book really resonated with me. It got me to thinking of ways in which I could streamline my life, and begin to work smarter, not harder.
We live in a world that stresses over-achievement. For many of us, we feel pressure to prove ourselves, prove that we have more going on than the next person. We think that we have to compete against others, to show that we are better some how. I’ve learned that you really don’t have to compete against anyone, all you have to do is create. Don’t compete, create. WOW, what an amazing concept. When I finally embraced that lesson, I was free, free in ways that I can’t even begin to put into words.
Here is what I’ve learned about working smarter. Some of these ideas are inspired by the book I mentioned, and some of them are lessons learned from my own experiences.
Sometimes we hold on to things that no longer serve a purpose. What things are you holding on to that you need to let go of? What weights are holding you down? Heaviness holds you back, causing you to exert more energy where you don’t need to, causing you to work harder than you have to. Begin to take inventory of your life, and start the process of letting go of those things that are no longer needed, so that you can make room for what really matters.
For those things that you know must get done, which of those activities can you delegate to someone else. As I write this I am reminded of a funny story. When I was a child, before we had remote controls for our t.v.’s, my grandmother would call me to change the channel when she wanted to watch something different. The funny part of that story is that she would call me from the back of the house, where I was playing, to change the channel, often times when she was sitting right in front of the television! I’m sure she didn’t know it at the time, but in her own way she taught me how to delegate responsibility. It was a funny way to learn this lesson, and I appreciate her for teaching me.
When life gets busy, learn to automate those activities that you tend to repeat over and over again. Begin to look at what you can put on auto-pilot. Set those activities so that they can be repeated over and over again, so that you are free to focus on other things. For example, I usually plan my week the weekend before. I write many of my blogs over the weekend, and then I schedule them to be published throughout the week. Also, when I teach online I sometimes record it, and I make it available to be downloaded over and over again for future use. This frees up my time to focus on other aspects of my business, while making the same information I shared available to even more people.
If you’re like me, you consider your time to be precious. I’ve learned to invest, and not waste my time, so that I can be more available to the people I love, and more effective for the clients I serve.
Think about your daily and weekly routine. Identify what activities you do over and over again, that perhaps if you automated them, your time could be freed up to focus on other things.