3 Unusual Secrets For Working Smarter, Not Harder

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How can you work less while increasing your income? You want to spend time with your family and friends. You want to go mountain bike riding. You want to watch a movie during the day. You want to have the freedom to do what you want, when you want to.

Over the past 8 months, the search for smarter working has been my obsession. To use my work hours so efficiently that it allows me to spend more time on the things that really matter.

During this process, I have stumbled on a few unusual activities that have jump-started my productivity and decreased my time outlay on work hours.

3 Unusual Secrets For Working Smarter, Not Harder:

1.  I Check My Email Right When I Get Up
I’ve read at least 100 articles telling leaders to do the exact opposite. As you can see in the image below, I receive lots of email (most of it is from my junk account). But I can personally testify by spending the first 30 minutes of my day knocking out important emails, I have been able to keep the people most important to me happy, the items which need responses are answered, and the stress of needing to reply during my focus hours is removed. Don’t fear your email in the morning. Go get it!

 mail
 This is literally a screenshot of my iPhone home screen. Ahhh!


2. I Spend Time In Nature At Least 3 Times Per Week
30 days ago I moved from Southern California to beautiful Bend Oregon. But wherever you live, get outside. Whether you hike, walk, bike, climb, or kayak getting outdoors is proven to reduce work-related stress and resets our attention span. But the key is quiet. Studies show that walking in a peaceful park versus a loud city street, is the secret to decreasing stimulation and increasing the brain’s ability to rest and refocus. So take a hike, just not on Main Street.

mountain
A friend snapped this photo during an 8 mile ride on the Deschutes River last week.


3. I Take 5 Breaks Per Day:
Statistically, the average human brain can focus for 90 minutes and then needs a 15-20 minute or we will reach burnout. I push this even further. I work for 60-90 minutes and take a 30 minute break.

Burnout is a cognitive sign saying you can’t take in more information in this portion of your brain until you’ve had a chance to rest.

My time away consists of anything from playing with my daughter or taking a non-work related phone call to even watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. But when the break is over, I jump back into another uninterrupted sprint of productivity. 

 aria
This is my daughter and I taking a short walk between work sprints.

What unusual secret has helped you get more done with less time? Let me know in the comments below.

PS: I also stumbled upon this interesting infographic on simple ways to increase different types of intelligence. I hope this helps you create the work-life balance you’re looking for.

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