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Work Smarter, Not Harder


Lifestyle expert Andrea Bain shares tips and tricks that will help you become more productive at work without putting in any extra hours.

Writing: Work Smarter, Not Harder

1. To Do List

There's nothing new about making a to do list but do you know how to make an effective one? You should have two lists: a daily and a master list. Make your daily list the night before so when you wake up you know exactly what you need to get done. The list should be in order of the most important to least. Try to get the big tasks done in the first part of your day, you have the most energy in the morning and it will allow you to give 100 per cent attention to that task.

It's also important to know the difference between the most important things and the noise that fills up your day. For example:

  • Important: high priority projects, responsibilities, key relationships and critical meetings
  • Noise: junk email, phone calls, laundry, gossip, social media

The key mistake a lot of us make is thinking we can be productive by addressing the noise in our lives quickly thinking that will clear you up for the bigger tasks afterwards.

2. Sitting Is The New Smoking

A study from the Harvard Medical School said, "we're getting a new study every week showing that even if you are in shape sitting down kills your brain cells." The lack of movement releases chemicals that trigger sleep; sitting decreases blood flow to your brain, lowers alertness and impairs your judgment.


  • Take a brain break every nine minutes by getting up from your chair and walking around
  • Take the stairs
  • Replace your chair with a stability ball or get a standing desk
  • Go for a walk on your lunch break
  • Have a walking meeting

3. Connect With People Face-To-Face

Our brains need social connections in order to survive and communicating with others face-to-face is a huge source of energy. When researching for this segment, Andrea came across many articles, books and blogs highlighting the importance of spending time building meaningful relationships with friends and co-workers to nourish your brain.


  • Walk over to a co-worker and chat face-to-face with them instead of emailing
  • Have a quick chat with your co-worker at the water cooler
  • Make plans with friends after work
  • Make sure to carve out quality time to spend with your family

4) Control Technology, Don't Let It Control You

Technology is a wonderful tool to get an immediate response from people, but constantly responding to Tweets, Facebook posts and texts can also be a huge distraction. The buzz or “ding” from your device can increase the addictive power of urgency. The downfall of this constant state of urgency is the affect it has on our relationships, being focused and addressing important problems because conversations that aren't clickable are becoming less important to us.


  • Shut off social media notifications while at work (if it has nothing to do with work)
  • Create different notifications for what’s important

5) Practice, Practice, Practice!

It's imperative to be good at your job. Repetition as well as keeping on top of what's going on in your line of business is a great way to achieve that goal. You will distinguish yourself in a positive way and be seen as an asset to the company. You'll also be more relaxed and ready to take on any challenge!


  • Read trade magazines and websites that cover your industry. That's where you can learn about the trends and changes in your field and you’ll become a better problem solver.
  • Do a task until it becomes second nature
  • Volunteer for assignments — even the ones no one else wants to do


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