21 Creative Ways to Work Smarter!

Keys to simplifying your life!

IMAGINE working like an ant but eating like an elephant! Money working for you, instead of you working for money. That’s where you want to be!

In his critically acclaimed book, Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself, New York Times bestselling author, Daniel H. Pink provides 101 provocative, but excellent Work Smarter, Not Harder type tips for people who want to simplify their lives.

Here are my favourites of the lot. 21 awesome tips to enable you simplify your life, and hopefully work smarter:

  1. Learn. …Become a learning machine. Ask questions. Take smart people to lunch. Read. Read some more. Listen to audio books. Take classes. Go to conferences (which are also great places to network.) Added benefit: This makes life more interesting. Yet another benefit: Studies have shown that people who make constant learning part of their lives end up living longer.
  2. Guard your calendar. Make sure your time is focused on your one or two top priorities. Ask yourself, “Is this how I want to be spending my time right now?” Remember: You are your calendar. So treat your calendar with respect.
  3. Get used to the three “-ty’s.” Ambiguity. Uncertainty. Volatility. They’re part of …life. Projects collapse. Money evaporates. Customers go wiggy. Get over it. That’s the way it works.
  4. Be paranoid. The good times won’t last.
  5. Don’t be paranoid. The bad times won’t last. 
  6. Failing is OK. Not failing is not OK. If you don’t flop every so often, you’re not trying hard enough.
  7. Never say upfront that you can beat a deadline. Just turn your work in early and look like a hero. Related advice…Underpromise, overdeliver.
  8. Getting bigger is a choice. Getting better is a must. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Better is better.
  9. Spend 10 minutes a day laughing out loud. Turn on Comedy Central, read a funny book, look at photographs of yourself in junior high. Laugh. Fully.
  10. Make a “to don’t” list. Another gem from the inimitable Tom Peters. Prepare a list that contains all the things you shouldn’t waste your time on–useless tasks, unnecessary meetings, worthless phone calls, and so on. Then place it next to your “to do” list and stick to it.
  11. Establish an opening ritual. Try to begin your day the same way. If you work at home, maybe take a short walk before you go into your office. Have a cup of tea or read or meditate before starting your work. An opening ritual will ease your mind, body and soul, into the day.
  12. Establish a closing ritual. Know when to stop working. Try to end each work day the same way, too. Straighten up your desk. Back up your computer. Make a list of what you need to do tomorrow.
  13. Respond to calls and e-mails quickly. Even if your response is “I’ll get back to you,” try to get back to people within 24 hours. They will appreciate the courtesy.
  14. Be quick. But don’t hurry. This one isn’t mine. It comes from the legendary UCLA basket ball coach John Wooden. Read it again. Think about it. Make sense, huh?
  15. Answer to a small group. Recall the words of Erika Tauber…“When you have told three or four other people you’ll do something, you will do it.” Small groups can be sounding boards for ideas and well springs of inspiration. 
  16. Carry a notebook and pen. Thomas Edison did it. Virginia Woolf did it. And so did Charles Darwin. They toted a notebook with them everywhere and wrote down ideas that popped into their heads. Follow their example. Scribble a thought, a question or an observation that occurs to you in the middle of something else. A surprising product you spot in the grocery store. A beautiful design you see. A great line you hear or read. Page through the notebook periodically. Trust me: This is a fantastic way to spark ideas and to wave creativity into the fabric of your life.
  17. Hone your elevator speech. Be able to explain who you are, what you do, and why someone could benefit from your unique talents –in 30 seconds. Then cut your pitch to 15 seconds. Practice it. Sharpen it… Caveat: An elevator speech shouldn’t sound like an elevator speech. It’s really an exercise in being honest, concise, and interesting.
  18. Take a “Sabbath.” [This one comes from God]. Choose one day during the week when you don’t work. Don’t go into your office. Don’t check your phone messages. Don’t answer your e-mail. Respecting your own “Sabbath” will be good for your soul – and better for your business.
  19. Get enough sleep. You need it.
  20. Get a virtual assistant. ..Sometimes a helper would be a godsend. And now you can find one on the Internet – a virtual assistant.
  21. Take the Sunday night test. If you’re like 99 percent of the population, you’ve experienced “Sunday night dread.” This ailment begins creeping up your spine around 4:30 on Sunday evening and reaches a crescendo around 11:00 PM, as you realize you’ve got to have to go work the following day. (My own research has shown that Sunday night dread begins forming around third grade and eventually dissipates around age 70.)… So this Sunday night, when you go to sleep, ask yourself: “Am I suffering from Sunday night dread?” If so, you might be doing something wrong. But if you’re not getting it – if you’re lying there in bed thinking, “You know, I sorta like this. I’m not dreading tomorrow. I’m actually looking forward to it” – then you’re probably on the right path.

Take your pick of the 10 that most resonate with you. Make them a part of your daily routine for the next 21 days. You will be astonished at the results.

Question: What are your top 10 of these 21 tips, and how will they help to simplify your life? Please click this link to leave your comment. 

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4 thoughts on “21 Creative Ways to Work Smarter!

  1. Top Ten Best; Some I do regularly and a few others I have just added to the list
    1.Learn from the Creator and His Creations; learning builds and refreshes the soul
    2.Guarding your calendar – very vital
    3.Getting better daily – a desire to know, if just a new paragraph daily
    4.Establish an opening ritual
    5.Establish a closing ritual and prepare for the next day
    6.Responding to calls and emails quickly
    7.A notebook and pen; so vital to your vision
    8.Take a Sabbath; Working for yourself? You need to rest – the value of the 7th day was to rethink the last 6 days and project for the next 6 and make it better. God’s first lesson in service.
    9.Get enough sleep; it is always good to coil up under the duvet after a hard day’s work. Your conscience will not judge you.
    10.Get a virtual assistant; trust others to help – delegate

    Thanks yet again. Great Stuff coming in digestible bite sizes

    • Thanks Pastor Victor! Awesome stuff from you as usual! I love your first tip – God has to be at the centre of everything we do! I suppose connecting with God is so fundamental, that I almost took it for granted, and so didn’t specifically list it. He created us and we need Him to help us simplify our chaotic and disjointed lives! As we often say => Know Jesus, know life – No Jesus, no life! Thanks again!