b2ap3_thumbnail_no_stress_at_work_400.jpg“Work smarter, not harder.” When you’re at your wit’s end, it’s annoying to be told this by a relaxed, know-it-all coworker. However, this productivity axiom holds up. Following this rule will allow you to get much more done, in a much shorter amount of time, and in a much more relaxed manner. Here are five productivity tips to help you “work smarter, not harder.”

Or, don’t follow these tips. Keep doing things the hard way and stress yourself out. The choice is yours.

Make and Stick to a Routine
The alternative to going by an organized schedule is to tackle the most seemingly-urgent task that hits your plate. This haphazard approach is a mega-stressful way to do things because you’ll always be working on the loudest, most drama-filled project.

By keeping to a strict routine, you’ll be able to schedule urgent tasks to more appropriate times. Additionally, you will want to include time to recharge and unwind from the stresses of life into your routine. If you’re not intentional about downtime being a part of your routine, then your day will quickly be overrun by things that stress you out. As a bonus, your routine can be adjusted and tweaked to allow for maximum productivity, which can’t be said for the haphazard approach.

Prioritize Your To-Do List
Having a to-do list in conjunction with a routine can do wonders to minimize stress levels. To get the most out of your to-list, try prioritizing your tasks so that your to-do list isn’t an overwhelming list of stuff that needs to be done. For example, if you assign each task with a priority level, like A, B, or C, then you’ll have a good idea of what to work on, which will minimize your stress level.

Delegate Lower-Priority Tasks
Once you have your to-do list determined and prioritized, you will then be able to appropriately delegate tasks on your list. From your list, you can easily determine what the tasks are that only you can do and which tasks your team can handle. This will minimize stress because you’ll know that you’re working on jobs that absolutely need your attention, while your staff is working on lower-priority tasks. By not delegating in this manner, you might end up giving jobs to your staff based on how “urgent” it seems, instead of based on how qualified they are for the job.

Deadlines Reduce Stress
If you don’t have a clear deadline for a project, then you might sink way more time into it than what you need to, which causes stress. Or, without a deadline, you might procrastinate on a project and never get around to it, which causes stress of a different variety. By not having a clear deadline, you will inevitably end up scrambling to get stuff done last minute, which will produce subpar results, and even headaches.

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With a hard deadline set, you will be able to schedule your work in manageable chunks so that you’re not last-minute panicking all of the time.

Keep Your Work and Personal Life Separate
One of the worst things you can do for your stress level is to bring your work with you to your home. Your home is supposed to be a place where you recharge and unwind from the day’s stressful activities so that you’re rested up to go back to work and take on the next day’s challenges. Granted, there are times when you have to work late hours or answer an urgent email from home, but this shouldn’t be the norm. If you’re intentional about guarding your home life from the stresses of your work life, then you’ll experience less stress and more productivity in your professional life.

Stressed out? By being intentional about how you manage your time, you will see your stress levels plummet, which will lead to a much more relaxed and productive lifestyle. What are some of your favorite productivity tips? Share them with us in the comments.