Work Smart – Be organized and plan your work for maximum efficiency. Have all the tools necessary before starting your work. Be thoughtful about your schedule, and have a game plan for your calls, your tasks, and your workday.  Know the priorities and work on them first. Work with a sense of urgency and get stuff done.

Hard Work vs. Smart Work

Is it important to work hard or not?  Yes. Of course, you have to be ‘smart’ about working hard, but hard work always pays. Just being smart or working smart is only half of the real story.

The fact remains that hard work and smart work must go hand in hand for you to be successful. Smart work is about making the right strategy, about following a disciplined work culture. Hard work translates your vision and ideas into results.

Effective time management is the most important component to working smarter.

Effective Time Management – Getting Organized

Here are 7 things you can do to get yourself better organized;

  1. Set goals and measures – Most people work better when they have a clear goal in mind that they’re working toward. Seeing results along the way will help keep you on the path to success.
  2. Lay out the work  –  It’s easier to get where you’re going when you know how to get there. Plan the work, work the plan.
  3. Rally support – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it wasn’t built by one man alone. Practice fundamental No. 21 and “Think Team”.!
  4. Delegate –  He who is a great manager is a master of delegation. Don’t get caught up in the minutia. Your time may be used more efficiently if you’re looking at the bigger picture and giving the small, crucial tasks to different parts of your team.
  5. Manage efficiently – How time is managed is a direct result of profit or loss. Watch the budget and be sure to let everyone in on their portion of the cost.
  6. Manage Coolly –  Getting frustrated and displaying it publicly will never help a situation, it will only bring down morale. Be a zen master and remember to look back to your plans and goals to stay in the solution.
  7. Celebrate – Take a moment to acknowledge someone for meeting a goal or deadline. Sincere appreciation for a job well done is the highest and most effective form of motivation you can offer.

Standard Operating Procedures

If nothing, else please remember this about SOP’s: the key reason it is so important to develop written systems and processes is because it will help you to identify where there are weaknesses in your daily activities.  You can’t see the problems unless you first standardize how you perform a task.

A standard operating procedure starts with a set of instructions or steps someone follows to complete a job or task safely, with no adverse impact on the environment, meeting quality standards, and in a way that maximizes operational and production requirements.

When writing SOPs for any processes an individual or group performs, the following should be considered:

  1. To provide individuals who perform operations with all the safety, health, environmental and operational information required to perform a task accurately.
  2. To ensure that operations are done consistently in order to maintain quality control of processes.
  3. To ensure that processes continue and are completed on a prescribed schedule.
  4. To ensure that approved procedures are followed in compliance with company guidelines.
  5. To serve as a training document for teaching users about a process.
  6. To serve as a historical record of the how, the why and the when of steps in a process for use when modifications are made to that process and when an SOP must be revised.

Work Smart NOW

If you’ve gotten really excited about this fundamental, you may be saying, “But I want to work smart NOW. How do I work smart TODAY?”

Well, great news! the following tips can be utilized as early as the next second and are all widely accepted by experts to be  ways of “working smart”:

  • Learn from others – There are great resources, smart people, direct opportunities and top books around you all the time. Learn to make use of them. Even a competitor can be your teacher if you’re interested in learning.
  • Prioritize – Decide what needs to be done FIRST, and do it.
  • If it works, stick to it – (Standard Operating Procedures)
  • Ask for help – Most of us prefer to do things by ourselves and not disturb others. That’s a great work ethic, but sometimes asking for help gets us further than just doing it alone. People love to help.  Just ask them.
  • Delegate – As stated previously, he who is a great manager is a master of delegation.
  • Wait – (Not procrastinate!)  Things often resolve themselves when you wait for a little while longer. Sometimes waiting is the smart way to go.
  • Always look for a better way – Standard operating procedures are great–if they’re working. Don’t restrict yourself to a set rule of doing things just for the sake of status quo. Study others and learn from them. Be a lifetime learner!
  • Review regularly – Do a regular review of what you have done in the past week and the corresponding results. Then analyze the things that are working and the things that aren’t working. With the former, keep them; with the latter, remove them.  Soon you will have a streamlined list of things that work.

Continuous Improvement

We have covered a lot of ideas on how to work smart.  From organizing, and prioritizing, to standardizing, and at times improvising. In the end it will all come down to you. Once given the knowledge, it is up to you to put it into action. The end goal of this particular fundamental is to develop new habits that will make us more efficient and yield better results.