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Work smarter, not harder: 15 tips

There are different ways to increase productivity and find an extra hour in your day. Here are 15 tips to promote smarter working

1. Stay hydrated from the moment you wake up

If you are not properly hydrated, your cognitive function will decline rapidly. Your metabolism will increase after drinking just 500ml of water.

2. Use the two-minute rule

According to David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, using the two-minute rule is crucial when you receive a new task. If you think the task will take two minutes or less to complete, do it immediately.

3. Work no more than 35 hours a week

You might think you are more productive when you work longer hours; however, research has shown that the opposite is true. Your productivity will start to fall when you reach the 35-hour mark, which can result in more mistakes and bad decisions.

4. Manage your free time

According to the University of Taiwan, managing your leisure time makes you happier and more productive. While it might feel great to be spontaneous at the weekend, some degree of planning is essential.

5. Wear a uniform

Take a leaf out of Mark Zuckerberg’s book and wear a ‘uniform’ – jeans and a grey top in his case – to work. Knowing in advance what you are going to wear saves both brain power and time.

6. Natural light is king

Research by the American Psychological Association reveals that daylight can improve your performance in cognitive tasks. Sit near a window whenever possible and ensure you take your lunch and other breaks outside.

7. Get on top of your junk mail

Using a free program such as gives you the option to unsubscribe.

8. Declutter your inbox

The average worker spends 28% of their time on email; therefore, going through your inbox every day is vital.

9. Get rid of email folders

Searching for an email in your inbox is much faster than trying to find it in another folder.

10. Turn off all technology alerts

Change your settings on your smartphone, tablet and laptop/computer so that the beep of an email or social media update won’t interrupt your work flow.

11. Have a technology break

With a whopping 47% of online time wasted by procrastinating, turning off the internet can really help.

12. Always take breaks

Even a five-minute break from your work every 25-30 minutes will help to keep your brain active for longer.

13. Watch your coffee intake

The more caffeine you drink, the more your body needs on a regular basis. Only drink coffee or caffeine when you have an immediate requirement for more energy and focus.

14. Allocate timeslots for your tasks

There is an adage that work expands to fill the time available for its completion; therefore, set a reduced time limit.

15. Make sure your office temperature is comfortable

22°C is the optimum office temperature. Productivity and attendance can drop when the temperature is too high, while turnaround times and distraction can increase. Errors and the likelihood of falling ill increase when the temperature is too low.

Everybody can use at least some of these tips to work smarter and accomplish more during their working day.

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