23 Ingenious Ways To Work Smarter, Not Harder

Get more done.

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Quora users shared their best tips and hacks to be more productive at work:

1. Stop keeping a million tabs open.

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Admit it. You have a problem. Try the One Tab Chrome extension to consolidate all of your tabs into one.

2. Increase your typing speed.

You can improve your typing speed, potentially saving yourself hours per week, with just a few weeks of practice on fun websites like Typeracer, which let you learn while racing against others.

3. Get a standing desk.

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It’s not only healthier for you, but will prevent back pain which can seriously cut into your productivity.

4. Get up every 45 minutes and move around.

When you sit back down you will feel greatly re-energized.

5. Use a Kanban board.

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These help you focus by visualizing what needs to be done now (and next).

6. Don’t be afraid to say, “No.”

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We often feel like we have to say “yes” to everything at work, but taking on less important tasks that distract you from the important ones is a very bad idea.

7. Pretend you are about to go on vacation.

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When you’re overwhelmed, imagine that you’re leaving for vacation in three hours. It will help you focus on the things that REALLY need to get done.

8. Manage anxiety.

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The best way to do this is by exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep.

9. Organize your desk/workspace.

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It only takes a few minutes, and makes a real difference.

10. Pick up the phone!

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I know, I know. No one likes to use the phone anymore, but if it’s going to take two or more emails to hammer out a problem, it’s much more efficient to just make a call.

11. Do the most difficult tasks first.

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People often suggest that you start your day by doing the easy tasks, but that often leaves you tackling the hardest tasks when your energy is sapped. Instead, “Eat that frog!” (aka do the most difficult tasks first).

12. Don’t be afraid to do crappy work.

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Allowing yourself to write a not-so-great first draft means that you now have something you can shape and edit.

13. Don’t multitask.

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Multitasking usually means doing a bunch of things poorly. You’re much better off giving all of your attention to one task that you really hit out of the park.

14. Don’t be afraid to learn new things.

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Maintaining a willingness to embrace new ideas, regardless of how long you’ve been on the job, means you’ll always have the latest tools to succeed.

15. Have a daily plan.

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As George Harrison sang, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

16. Embrace ninja keyboard shortcuts.

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Shortcuts like these allow you to navigate your computer more quickly.

17. Use macros.

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They let you save time by performing a series of commands with just one click.

18. Interact with your co-workers.

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In a healthy work environment they will lift your spirits when you’re discouraged and even help you troubleshoot problems.

19. Delegate.

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You don’t have to do everything yourself. Really.

20. Use a time management system like GTD (“Getting Things Done”).

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Those who swear by GTD say it brings stress-free productivity to workers who previously felt totally overwhelmed.

21. If you can answer an email in two minutes, do it immediately.

Letting your email unnecessarily pile up only causes stress.

22. Remember the 80/20 principle.

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The gist of this concept is that 20% of what you do creates 80% of your results, so you should focus the majority of your efforts on that 20% (rather than the less impactful 80%).

23. Ignore your email when you’re swamped.

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It will ensure you get a good stretch of totally focused work time.

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