Hard work pays off but in reality smart work pays off even more. Some projects, issues and other tasks demand more time than others but investing time without proper planning is not enough. In fact putting in too much time can actually be counterproductive not to mention those bags under your eyes from putting in late nights.

So stop burning the midnight oil and start working smarter not harder.

  1.     Plan and prioritize

Plan, plan and then plan some more. Attacking each day without having a plan is like trying to win a race with both legs tied together. Don’t hop around in circles hoping to cross the finish line have a solid, organized plan that prioritizes your tasks. One tip, start your day with the most important (often most difficult)  jobs first and then work your way down. You’ll thank yourself at the end of the day, when you recognize the progress you made.

  1.     Let go of your inner control freak and delegate

Don’t be a Jack of all trades, concentrate on the important things and delegate the rest to your employees. If you don’t have employees, it might be time to hire or contract a few because no business can be run by one person forever.

  1.     Take breaks

This may some counterintuitive but make sure you take plenty of breaks. Let your mind rest. Take this a step further by making your break time nap time. You can’t work smarter if you are tired.

  1.     Don’t be addicted to your email

Your email is not your master but many of us check our email so many times it borders on ridiculous. Schedule email checks a few times a day. Tell your employees and clients to call you if a pressing matter arises.

  1.     Keep your work area tidy

Disorganization breeds chaos and chaos causes inefficiency. Keep your office, desk, drawers and file cabinets clean and organized.

  1.     Time yourself

Avoid taking too long with tasks by timing yourself. Don’t sacrifice quality as this is an exercise in efficiency not pure speed. You might be surprised on the amount of time you waste.

  1.     Off hours should be off hours

Don’t carry your work with you everywhere. When it’s off time it should be off time. Eat properly, get plenty of exercise and sleep. Maybe even mix in a night out de-stressing with friends or family. A happy, well rested mind is a mind that will help you work smarter so you won’t have to work harder.