If you clicked through to read this article chances are you already feel like you are working hard but not getting enough done, or, maybe you would just like to get even more done in less time so you can reduce the number of hours you have to work. But it is important to remember that "working too hard" does not necessarily correlate with the number of hours you work, but has more to do with whether or not you are getting maximum results in as little time as is reasonably possible.
Working Inefficiently Always Means You Are Working Too Hard
Most of us have heard (and cringed at) the cliché term "work smarter, not harder," but this axiom carries its own weight if we only stop to think about what it is saying about work and results. "Working smarter" equates to getting good results with the least amount of wasted time and energy, but it does not mean you still won't have to work hard at something.
When you drive, the harder a car engine has to work to get you somewhere, the more fuel it burns. Keeping a constant heavy foot on the gas pedal or driving with rabbit starts and quick stops is far less efficient than driving at a constant even speed. Taking the shortest route to your destination, avoiding traffic jams, etc. will also decrease the amount of time you have to spend getting to where you want to go.
When it comes to the human body: the harder you work out does not always mean you will get into the best shape, lose the most weight, or even burn the most calories. Any personal trainer will tell you that simply getting your heart racing or overdoing it one day so you miss your next workout is not the best, or even safest way to get into shape.
To get into the best shape most efficiently requires planning, warming up, cooling down, and pacing yourself so that you can "go the distance" and be able to return to the gym the next day and get good results consistently - not just on spurts.
Working out in a way that maximizes health benefits in the least amount of time is the key to fitness and this is also true in the work environment. Tasks that take longer to complete because you are tired, distracted, lack the proper tools, knowledge or resources, or because you are disorganized are a clear indication you are probably working too hard.
Articles In This Series
Step 1: Have A Plan In Place Before You Start Your Work Day. The most important step you can take towards working more efficiently is to have a plan in place.
Step 2: Set Small Goals And Check Off Those You Accomplish. Making a list and checking off items you have accomplished may sound like just another thing to do, but when done properly, keeping tally of task can help you work more efficiently.
Step 3 - Stop Procrastinating, But Feel Free To Defer Work When Necessary. Many of us put things off because we resent having to do them in the first place - especially if we feel like it is someone else's responsibility.