Arrow Back to newsfeed

People & Culture

Work Smarter Not Harder

March 7, 2023

We’ve all heard the saying, work smarter, not harder, but how exactly do we execute this in our day-to-day practices? Here are a few useful ways of alleviating stress and freeing up time while remaining productive and reaching your goals.  A thought piece written by Heidi Cardyn, Global Head of Admissions.

Time Management 

I quickly learned that time is everything when working in a fast-paced industry, and managing it is essential. I’ve never been much of a scheduler and always finished my work. Still, I would find myself being easily distracted and wasting a lot of it procrastinating before accomplishing my tasks. I found, however, that by balancing my schedule around meetings, breaks, and uninterrupted focus time, I procrastinated less, was more effective in my focus time, and ultimately got more done in less time. 

It is proven that if you take sprints of concentrated, productive time followed by a short break and alternate, you will be able to accomplish more. The 52/17 Rule is a time management method that consists of 52 minutes of uninterrupted concentration and 17 minutes of restful recharging and taking your attention off your work tasks.   

Balancing your schedule might look different depending on your work and overall lifestyle. It’s important to take a minute to ask yourself when you feel most energized and efficient. For example, I’m generally not a morning person, but I would rather start my day with interactive conversations to get the juices flowing than jumping into a spreadsheet first thing! I keep that work for later in the morning when I know my analytical and detail-oriented senses are the sharpest. Take a moment to think about your ideal workday, and then figure out what might work for you. 

Have a look at the workload you have and navigate your time accordingly. Try to tune into how long different tasks take you; as you get more comfortable and those tasks take less time, adapt your scheduling accordingly. Doing research and knowing your work/audience/topic will also help alleviate the energy you will put into ongoing tasks.   

Optimize your Processes 

Workflow and clear processes can also help you and your team save time. Helpful resources with FAQs and general information required in your job are good to have on hand. If you do not have access to such information, ask for it, or create it yourself! Try to find the answer to your questions before asking your manager or colleagues. Ultimately you will absorb it better if you find it yourself and become more resourceful. If you are putting together a workflow, start by visualizing how you go through a task from start to finish. Much like a checklist, this will help you get to the end result in a much more effective way, remove any unnecessary steps in your process, and stay more organized as you work.    

If you are working with a lot of data and details, make sure your tracking tools are organized and easy to read at a glance. Color-coding and titling will take a few seconds more when inputting data but will ultimately save you a lot of time when you need information quickly and at a glance. Schedule time once a week for general housekeeping and maintenance of your tools to help keep everything up to date.   

In conclusion, there are many small changes that you can make in your day-to-day that can help you save loads of time in the long run and integrating them into your routine is simple. In a society that associates being constantly busy with success, let us take a step back and evaluate where we put our energy and how we can work smarter, not harder. 

Discover more about our People and Culture Community.


to work on award-winning projects.