I Want To Work Smarter, Not Harder

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2008-08-2521

Don’t you sometimes wish you could clone yourself? How do you work smarter, not harder?

work smarter, 4 hour work week, productivity
Photo by Tony M.

It seems like lots of folks have the same complaint as I do, which is that they always have a lot of stuff going on that they wish they could accomplish all at once. Or that they don’t have the time but have more than enough inclination to tackle several projects, tasks and errands simultaneously. Don’t we all just wish there were more than 24 hours in a day to do everything we’d like? Yeah, that’s why I’m about to order myself the book, “The 4 Hour Work Week” that everyone in the blogosphere’s been talking about and which I’d also like to chime in on, once I’ve gotten around to reading it 😉 .

It’s also the reason I haven’t yet actively gotten aboard Twitter — I can see myself losing many precious minutes / hours to it if I were to dip more than a few toes in this new community. Like a lot of you who live on the internet, I’d love to be able to expand my online networking efforts, but I worry about how much of a “time pit” the internet social gathering holes actually are.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to try to free up more time, which is something that remains elusive to me. I thought that by leaving the workforce, that I’d miraculously be sitting on an additional 8 to 10 hours that I could use any which way I’d like, and I’d have lots of time to relax. Of course, my life’s much more balanced now, so maybe all that extra time is going to more hours of sleep, that’s why I’m not noticing the extra hours during the day!

The issue here is that I’m a great planner, but not a good enough organizer and certainly one who’d like to get better at “working smarter” rather than harder. Hmmmm…. wonder if working on a productivity blog will help me get better at these things? 😉 Then again, it may be another “time pit”.

Any other suggestions for increasing one’s productivity levels? Maybe you can tell us what worked for you!

Copyright © 2008 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mydailydollars August 25, 2008 at 9:59 am

I agree; I’m trying to limit unnecessary drains on my time. It’s amazing how quickly they can eat up your day.

Connie Brooks August 25, 2008 at 10:04 am

Good luck as you work on your organization and productivity – I think we all need a little more of that. If you come across any good tips, I’d love to read them!

Lauren August 25, 2008 at 10:18 am

I still don’t understand the merits of Twitter. Is it just to send out mini-feeds and updates more easily during the day?

But back on topic, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find time in the day to do basic tasks like take my clothes to the laundromat, clean the house, go grocery shopping. It seems like a lot of companies now are pushing this 9am-6pm workday – or something even more tedious. By the time I get home, I’m so sick and tired of staring at a computer screen, I can barely bring myself to finish daily, minute tasks.

But as for a solution, I try to plan out my week on Sunday. I make lists and plan quick trips to the supermarket, etc. on my way home from work and try to pread it out throughout the week so that I can feel like I have a little bit of “down time” in the evenings.

Flexo August 25, 2008 at 11:10 am

I think I’ve seen that guy in the photograph around…. 🙂

Curious Cat Investing Blog August 25, 2008 at 11:19 am

Learn to say no for the things that are not your top priority. There are lots of things to improve efficiency but just saying no eliminates a bunch of stuff that really isn’t that important.

The Happy Rock August 25, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Focusing on the most important tasks frees up the most time. That is why a GTD type system is so valuable. It allows you to get everything out of your head so you can stop doing mental gymnastics over and over again and use that energy to attack your couple most important tasks for the day, which you can objectively chose from you GTD list/files/cards each day/week/month/year.

ericabiz August 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Hi! I’ve written a whole series of articles on finding more time in your day:


and http://www.erica.biz/2008/entrepreneurs-is-extreme-frugality-a-waste-of-time/

are two recent ones. I hope they help you!


DiaryofADink August 25, 2008 at 11:42 pm

It’s a great book. Well written and funny (albeit a bit cocky). Hope you enjoy it!

Megan August 26, 2008 at 7:59 am

I’m interested to hear what you think of The 4 Hour Work Week. I can’t figure out where my time goes some days!

I admit, I’m not good at social networking for anything other than a bit of fun. I use Twitter, but only to follow my friends and a few news sites. I don’t have the time to be communicating on it regularly!

Jim August 26, 2008 at 8:36 am

Any information to increase productivity while decreasing time spent is worth a great deal.

Austin Real Estate Guide August 26, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I think if anyone can make a pill so we don’t have to sleep or at least sleep so much they will make a lot of money and make our lives easier.

I had the same experience when I quit a corporate day job and didnt find the same amount of time that I thought I would post job.
So maybe if we cut out sleep it would be the same thing. No matter how much time we have our list of things to do will be that + 1.

cbstogner September 7, 2008 at 1:22 pm

That is why a GTD (Getting Things Done) type system is so valuable. It allows you to get everything out of your head so you can stop doing mental gymnastics over and over again and use that energy to attack your couple most important tasks for the day, which you can objectively chose from.

Ed: Thanks for the info. I also don’t allow keyword use in links and handles, thanks.

Emily Murphy January 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Working smarter is a concept that’s foreign to corporate America. We cubicle dwellers are guilty of being governed by our fears of the unknown and ACTUALLY leaving the office to pursue work in a different way. These fears keep us complacent and in the face of unhappiness or, worse, apathy.

Silicon Valley Blogger January 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm

@Emily Murphy,
I appreciate your interesting insights. Unfortunately, I can’t allow a link back to you via the comments since this is a family friendly site. Sorry!

Emily Murphy November 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

Yup! I really like Tim Ferriss’ book ”The four-hour workweek”. It gives really relevant guidance to the issues that are brought up here.

Stefan Lombard December 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Here’s a great idea for working smarter, not harder. Try these tips here, where it states that you can boost productivity by eliminating “artificial scarcities”. The idea goes something like this: if you buy one pen and lose it, it costs you a trip to the store to buy a new pen (not to mention the drag on productivity). It would be a waste of precious time to do, right? So why not buy multiple pens even at a higher cost, just so you always have one at hand without wasting time hunting for a lost pen or having to do an unplanned trip to buy a new one? Ultimately, you are working smarter this way — and you’re probably saving money, since you are conserving time and energy and boosting productivity.

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