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The digital age is constantly necessitating new behaviors from us, be they within or without the work environment. This fact, however, is rarely addressed or acknowledged meaningfully by employers and corporations. What does that mean? It means that there is an inability to accommodate the realities of today, which leads to disaster on a regular basis.

To add an insult to an injury, people believe that raising the bar requires a higher level of effort. Let’s go back to the drawing board and see what we are doing wrong.

Karōshi is a Japanese term, which, when translated, means “death from overwork.”

Japan Times discloses some alarming numbers regarding the people who have worked 80 (or more) hours of overtime a month, which the Ministry of Health refers to as – THE KAROSHI LINE. The series of death experiences and health problems have raised the question – Is Japan working itself to death?

Looking at the broader picture gives you all the necessary info you require to make a final decision and choose your road. Furthermore, overwork doesn’t lead to greater accomplishments; it only suffocates your creativity and makes you miserable.

Let’s inquire into the five elementary methods that can make a difference in any environment:

1. Don’t Overly Emphasize the Timeframe

In the first place, you might want to make sure that you’re not barking up the wrong tree. If you have thousands of things roaming inside your head, the first thing you ought to do is calm down and weigh your options.

The to-do-list is a dangerous concept for ignorant people who put an accent on taking care of the assignments at a given timeframe without even taking into consideration the risks.

The clock is, without a doubt, the biggest killer of your imagination, so keep that in mind before jumping to any conclusion. Creative tasks in correlation with emotional feedback generate higher work engagement and thus increase creativity.

Your job is not to impress your superiors, but to enhance your performance day in and day out by working smarter.

Weeding out these destructive tendencies is not a piece of cake, but it’s feasible if you change your habits and prefer Smarter over Harder!

2. Remind Yourself about Your Priorities

At first glance, this step may seem like something that requires less attention. A significant portion of the decision-makers has absolutely no idea about their personal and professional priorities. By all means, they form an opinion in the last minute, without even mapping out a plan of action.

Putting an end to this requires you to settle accounts with your mind and find that emotional trigger. Such attitude induces productivity and injects a dose of passion, which also streamlines the process of prioritizing the tasks and options for working smarter.

Most of us dread the idea of going forward, and we choose to stay right where we are – in the comfort zone.

Brian Tracy challenges its audience to find that hidden courage, and avoid spending time and energy on complaints. Just do your thing, is perhaps the best remedy against procrastination you’ll ever get.

3. Prepare Each Night for the Next Day

It doesn’t matter how old-fashioned this may sound, because it’s still one of the best preparation methods even in a fast-paced environment. Look at it this way, instead of turning your house upside down in the morning to find your socks; you might choose your clothing before you hit the bed.

UX Designer working on a freelance project

It’s a practical and straightforward approach, which gives you precious minutes that can help you to start the day reliably. Nonetheless, the number of people who thrive on this method can be count on one’s fingers.

Trying to find the perfect formula for productivity is like looking for a needle in a haystack because it’s not about perfection but about adopting the right set of habits.

Workplace Research Foundation in their study reveals that happier and more engaged employees can increase the profits by 10% on a yearly basis. Such disclosure acknowledges the fact that people who know how to gear themselves up for the next day, are more likely to get a promotion, provide better results and most importantly be content with themselves.

4. Focus on Critical-Thinking

It all comes down to the ability to provide creative solutions to complicated problems. You don’t require extra hours at your desk to do just that.

Nonetheless, you have to resist the temptation to bite off more than you can chew because when quality is at stake – sharpening your skills is the only thing that matters.

What exactly is critical thinking? While you can label it in several different ways, it is best to think of it as the opposite of common processing. Critical-thinking is focusing on conceptualization, evaluation, and analysis. Being able to take a glance at the core of the problem and sidestep the superficial approach.

That way your efforts won’t be in vain, and the idea of “working smarter” will no longer be an option.

In the words of Aristotle: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”   

5. Absorb the Pareto Principle

Well, we all know the 80/20 ratio. It pretty accurately depicts the level of effort and intelligence we put into each task. The same principle exists in different realms such as management, marketing, etc. However, digesting its essence is easier said than done.

To put it simply, it indicates that 80% of the results derived from 20% of your efforts. Experts mark it as yet another opposition force that threatens to destroy the idea of striving for more action.

This turn of events presents a new reality, which continues to gain momentum in the digital age.

From what we’ve acquired so far it’s fair to say that the concept of pushing harder is slowly fading away. Productivity takes a new shape and casts doubt on obsolete models that are no longer applicable and effective.

Failing to spot these indicators can give you a secondary role in the age of endless modifications. So, take notes and start growing mentally for working smarter.

Written By
Emir Zecovic is an eager learner and a passionate reader working at 12 Min as a Content Marketing Specialist. He is also an enthusiastic blogger who loves to write about productivity, self-help and personal development. You can follow him on Facebook.

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