Today's guest post is by Jeffrey Wood and deals with a topic few of us even bother to consider – but is essential to achieving maximum productivity from the work we do. Read it and enjoy ~ Ros
An oft heard term everywhere I've worked has been “Work smarter not harder“.
This often is in reference to things like being organized before you start, setting up your work area, figuring out ways to not rely on brute strength, etc.
For Internet Marketers “Working smarter not harder” is sometimes used for outsourcing certain tasks or doing your research before entering a market or by using existing tools instead of reinventing the wheel.
Today though I'm looking at it in a different sense.
I'm talking about working with your natural biorhythms instead of against them. Sounds kinda like some whacky new age thing, doesn't it?
Here's what I mean: I am a night owl by nature and over the years this has been reaffirmed every day off I've ever had. I like staying up late, but not all night and I like sleeping in, but not all day.
In fact, swing shift would be the ideal working hours for me if it wasn't for one teeny tiny issue…I hate working those hours.
I once had over a month off due to an injury. “Aha”, I thought to myself, “I'll have so much time to work on my internet business.” I daydreamed of all the things I'd get done. Yeah right, didn't happen.
During the daytime, the time most people think they'd be the most productive were actually the LEAST productive hours for me. I'd be (and still am) distracted by e-mail, noise, snack attacks, Twitter and just about everything else you can imagine. I just couldn't focus for very long.
Oh sure, most of it was related to work, there's always a blog post from an expert to read, a resource they mention to check out, the occasional news headline that the Great Plague was caused by flying monkeys, etc. There's nothing like being Productively Unproductive.
I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, “Well, all you had to do was to not turn on your e-mail, Twitter, or those other things until you got your blog post written or a message added to your autoresponder, or whatever else you had to do.”
Great in theory, but that didn't matter, I still couldn't focus. The daytime is the perfect time for me to check Twitter, check e-mails, make phone calls and things, but it's horrible for just about everything else.
I work better and am more focused, either in the early morning or late night. Here it is at 5:30 am and I am very focused, very undistracted, very productive, but in a couple of hours that will change.
This is what I mean when I say work smarter not harder by working with your body instead of against it. I know the times I am most productive at certain tasks, so even though I have all day and could have (would have loved to) sleep in, I got up at 5am so I could be focused and productive doing the things I need to do to add content to my sites.
Now if you only have 5pm to 6:15pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays to work on your internet business, then you don't have a choice, you MUST figure out how to work very focused during those times. Use Tuesday to prepare and Thursday to execute the plan OR divide up the time however you need to.
But when you do have the time on a day off or vacation or whatever, work with your body whenever you can. I can happily spend 10 hours planted on my rear end on the computer working, but I still know when I'm going to be able to work at my best at certain tasks.
Figure out when you are at your best and work with it. The time you spend on a task may be cut down, but you may find ironically that your productivity goes up.
And that my friend, is one way to work smarter not harder and now I must go, for the Twitter, it calls to me.