Four Strategies To Work Smarter, Not Harder


July 28, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Written on 7/28/2008 by Melanie K. of Relish for Women.

I recently discovered a self evaluation form that allows you to determine which entrepreneurial skills or aptitudes you have or need to improve upon. If you are interested in trying it, you can find it here.

In the self-evaluation, there is a category called “commitment to work contract”, which basically evaluates your commitment to completing a job, with questions such as: “I will do almost anything to finish a task on time” and “I treat my family, my friends and my own convenience as less important than getting a job done.”.

I can see what they’re getting at: you need to be prepared to work A LOT. But to me, it’s about working smarter, not harder. To me, this category should be about project management and time management skills, not how much family time we are willing to sacrifice to get the job done. Isn’t that why many are shifting to self-employment in the first place? To have some flexibility to do other things?

Anyway, the whole topic got me thinking about being more effective when I am working at home so that the 14 hour days are kept to a minimum. This is about how YOU work most effectively and efficiently to get the job done and do all the other things you want time for in your life.

Here are a four strategies I use to get the most out of my time at home:

  • When is your peak efficiency? At what time during the day are you most alert, focused and ready to go? How long does it last?

Maybe you work best from 8am to noon. But, are so brain dead in the afternoon, you might as well be doing something else. Then perhaps you get a second wind after dinner for 3 or 4 hours, and voila, there’s your 8 hour day. Not quite your typical day at the office, but you’ve gotten twice as much done as you would otherwise. For some people it’s starting a 5 am, others like to work through the night.

The trick here is to pay attention to your internal clock and figure out when your energy is highest.


  • Do other things during your down time: Exercise, groceries, oil changes. If you are not the 9 to 5 type, then this works perfectly because you avoid the crowds at stores, the gym, and the garage filled with the people who only have time on weekends and after 5pm on weekdays. No line ups, no waiting around = more efficient.



  • Create a work friendly atmosphere. Not only have dedicated workspace that is tidy and organized, but make it inspiring and inviting. Hang art on the wall, have potted plants in the room, play music that helps you concentrate, buy comfortable furniture. Feeling good in your environment results in improved productivity.



  • Stir things up once in a while. If you are uninspired in your normal space, set yourself up with a laptop and work in the dining room or living room, or add a cell phone and go to your favorite coffee shop once in a while. Sometimes completely new surroundings will help you work better and faster. Plus, it’s more fun!


Being flexible and incorporating interesting strategies into your work habits are some of the best advantages of working at home. Do you have any unconventional ways of improving your efficiency and effectiveness?



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