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Work Smarter (Not Harder)

Late nights, early mornings, and lots of coffee. And I'm not referring to your college years. This is the life of a career woman/man. The misconception is that you have to work hard to get to the top. I'm here to tell you to stop working hard and start working smart so that you can spend more time finding the ladder to climb to the top. Tip #1: Find an App for it Apps were designed to make your life 10x easier. Not sure of where you're going, use your GPS App. Want to save money on your Starbucks Coffee and earn rewards, use your Starbucks App. Need to make your life at work easier: search the App market! You'll be very surprised to find that there are tons of Apps that can cut hours off of the manual work you're doing. For example, as many of you know, I am a full-time teacher. The first 8 years of my career of a teacher was dedicated to spending hours upon hours grading. That was until I discovered ZipGrade. I can place my cell phone above a student answer sheet and get their score in 2 seconds (vs. spending 5-10 minutes going through each answer manually). A great way to find Apps is to google: "Cool Apps for ______" (Insert your Industry or Position title in the blank). Tip #2: Don't Chuck it...Chunk it! When your daily to-do list includes 10+ can seem like you'll never come up for air. Eventually, your list of ten rolls over into the next day, and by the end of the week it looks like a four-year old child's Christmas List. It might seem impossible, but there's a big chance you can accomplish these tasks! Look at your list and see if there are any tasks that you can combine. Your list can appear overwhelming (and endless!) when it's presented as multiple tasks, but sometimes combining small tasks can help you maximize your time. Tip #3: It's OK to Ask for Help! (Really!) A lot of us (including myself) don't prefer to ask others for assistance. One of the reasons is because we don't want to appear like we are not the man or woman for the job. If you're one of these people that means you rarely (if ever) ask for help. When you are greatly overwhelmed with your workload, don't be afraid to ask another (or others) for assistance. Surprisingly, when you don't ask for help often, others will be more than happy to provide assistance. Try to stick with giving the other person a small task or two to help you with. Nothing major. That way they won't have to sacrifice much of their time to provide assistance Tip #4: Take a Break When you're working on something for hours and hours on end, it's important to find the time to take a break. Our bodies and minds were not built for extended focus, that's why scientifically we NEED breaks! Even if the task is not complete, take 15-30 minutes to unwind. Try not to think about the task(s) while you're taking a break (because that wouldn't be a break, right?). If possible, take your break at a different location. Go for a walk, get a bite to eat, call a friend, or sit in your car and turn on the radio. When you return, you'll feel more rejuvenated and energized to complete the task at hand! Tip #5: Eliminate Distractions Sometimes you don't realize that the very thing slowing you down is! You can be your biggest distraction at times. Whether it's talking to others (when you should be working), scrolling through your newsfeed on Instagram or Facebook (when you should be working), or texting friends/family back and forth (when you should be working), these can all become hige distractions that slow you down at work. Try to set a goal where you go "X" amount of hours without touching your phone or engaging in conversation with others. It's ok to hide your mobile device(s) from yourself just to get your work done! You'll be happier and more satisfied when you're done.

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