The old adage,”Work smarter, not harder” is a favorite of mine. When I came across this article in a back issue of TACA Airlines’ in-flight magazine, EXPLORE, I immediately took notice. Work Smarter, Not Harder outlines eight different strategies for putting this sage advice into action including the “time-tested 80-2- rule,” which I mentioned as the Pareto Principle in my own post on working smarter, not harder back in March of this year.
My favorite tip in the article is Strategy #1: Work for two hours – or at least in two hour increments with breaks in between. This time-blocking method is similar to the block plan schedules at a handful of colleges and universities where students immerse themselves into one course in each three and half week block. It’s easy to identify some of the many benefits of this strategy: increased focus, fewer distractions, more manageable goals. Fast Company discussed time-blocking in a post on avoiding office distractions in their Work Smart column. Author, Gina Trapani, admits to “holding fake meetings with myself just to get work done” and suggests that “Time blocking works best when you’ve got a discrete, single task or project that involves deep engagement, like research, number crunching, brainstorming, or writing.”
Strategy #8: Just say no, ends the list and is sure to be one of the most difficult strategies for many to employ. The EXPLORE article wraps up with a possible debunking of the so-called “multi-tasking myth”. I’ll have to look into the recent research suggesting that “people who multi-task are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time”. Being good at multi-tasking has long been seen as a plus in the business world, but that is obviously beginning to change.