This is probably not the first time you’ve heard this phrase. We all have varying definitions of what this is supposed to mean. Generally, working smart is using your thinking skills to minimize tasks, so you use your time effectively to get stuff done quickly, no? [Yes]
Unfortunately, I have come to notice that a lot of people only say the phrase—Work Smart—for “saying” sake; which is why I’ve compiled four uncommon strategies on how you can effectively do so. Believe me; you’ve not heard them before.
1. Take More Breaks.
Ironical, right? How would I get more done by taking even more breaks, uh? Well, I’m not gonna argue. Let’s hear what science has to say.
If you haven’t heard of the Pomorodo method, this would be a good time (Def not a portmanteau of kpomo and rodo, please…). This method is pretty straight-forward: Work on one task, and one-task only, for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. Take a longer break; say 10-15 minutes, after 4-5 Pomorodo sessions.
Science—ultradian rhythms—shows that our brains can only focus for about 90 minutes before needing a 20-minute break. So, take more breaks. O nessestri.
2. Set Short Deadlines.
Parkinson’s Law comes to mind: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. While you should always set reasonable deadlines for your work, consider setting shorter windows for completing tasks.
Asides from eliminating any chance of procrastination, what this does is to increase the efficiency with which you are able to accomplish said tasks. Try it sometime; it works.
3. Take Naps
Again science: “Naps lead to improvement in cognitive function, creative thinking, and memory performance.”
Research has shown that when memory is first recorded in the brain—in the hippocampus to be specific—it’s still “fragile” and easily forgotten especially if the brain is asked to memorise more things. Napping, it seems, pushes memories to neocortex, the brain’s “more permanent storage”, preventing them from being “overwritten”.
This should be good news, especially for all students out there. God knows we need our memory to be on point [Sigh…]
Before I forget, our bodies are actually designed to have two sleeps per day: a long period overnight, and a shorter stint during the day. Exactly why you feel sluggish or sleepy in the afternoon. Listen to your body, have a rest! It’s smart work.
4. Spend More Time Outdoors.
Finally yet importantly, smart work entails spending time in nature to help you reset your attention span and relax your mind.
Plus, other research has found out that for students, motivation to learn is higher when we do so surrounded by nature instead of being inside a classroom. Ahh… Just imagine the scenery; wafty, cool breeze, green pastures—the book will enter by force. It applies to reading as well—as I said, smart work!
So, y’all that’s all for now. Do comment if you’ve tried any of these before and if they’ve worked for you. And don’t be selfish—hit that SHARE button!