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How to Work Smart, Not Hard

The following post is from Katie of Making This Home and Gadanke:

work smart don't work hard

I’m six months into this work at home mom gig, though I’ve worked from home for a few years. “Home” to me is an airplane hangar on a small but active runway. I can’t just hide in a basement and crank out my work because there are constant interruptions (my favorite being my seven month old son!).

It’s easy to get sidetracked by chores. It’s even easier to get distracted by the kids! I realized long ago – and I think Mandi would agree – that there is an enormous difference between working hard and working smart.

Six tips on how to work smart, not hard:

1. Learn your work rhythms, and don’t fight them.

Last night, the baby and I got up around 4:30 to nurse. My husband was still up! That’s when his brain really works.  He’s tried fighting it. We’ve fought about it. (I’m a morning person.) But in the end, embrace your best hours. Be productive when you see yourself accomplishing the most, not when society says you should be at your peak performance.

2. Ask for help with work.

Your first inclination is probably, “I can do it all.” And to some level, you probably can. But someone else can do it better. Ask for help so that you can focus on the things that you’re good at. (For example, I have an assistant who specifically photographs and ships all the writing prompt journals in my shop, Gadanke.) That way you’re not taking care of tedious tasks when you really want to be cooking your family dinner or playing with your kids.

3. Schedule intentional breaks.

When you work, work smart. Don’t just go and go and go. Then pause. Every day, do something just because you enjoy it. Otherwise you’ll burn out. The same goes for your months and years. Take full days off, and go have fun.

4. Eat good food.

Sure, caffeine is great. But it isn’t going to give you the mental energy you need. Eat some vegetables. Eat some fruit. Every day. It’s summer – you can do this.

5. Let go of the need to do everything.

My blog, Making This Home, got a little quiet this past month as I began writing here and ramping up some marketing projects. I realized I could beat myself up about this, or I could celebrate the pretty awesome things that I am accomplishing (like releasing this already popular mother son journal!).

6. Make sleep a top priority.

I know you have a lot to do. Sleep is the easiest thing to cut back on. But here’s the thing. Sleep deprivation influences your brain. It changes your productivity and reduces your ability to problem solve. It can impair your mind exactly like intoxication. And if you’re so busy trying to do everything, you won’t even recognize that sleep deprivation has hit.

How do you work smart?

Katie Clemons is a storycatcher and journal crafter. She helps people celebrate their stories with her award-winning writing prompt journals at Gadanke. She also blogs at Making This Home about simple, handmade living from a vintage airplane hangar in Montana.