Work smarter, not harder

As a freelancer, I was working for about 6 years on different projects remotely, with different countries and time zones and travelling as much as I could and, I really had to take the most of my time to carry out all work and enjoy travel. Today’s post will look at some tips on how to design your lifestyle in order to find the work-life balance being successfully productive. For me, it is all about being free and happy to work and live as we love.

Stay motivated

The balance between think and do

Entrepreneurs, in general, are the ultimate “doers” of the world. The benefit of thinking more is that the more you think, the higher the probability of being right. The downside of thinking more is the loss of time to actually get stuff done. So, the tip is to think just right (not too much, not too less), stay focused on action, and execute highly effective.

Join the coworking space that fits you

Coworking spaces are incubators of talent and the place for collaboration, to find customers and accelerate your projects. You will find there a community made of like-minded people like you, and of course, friends. Your workplace must be your second home ready to boost your creativity and productivity.

Stick to your strengths

Working smarter also means focusing on the areas in which you’re strongest. Work with people who are smarter than you are in your weak areas.

Don’t work for free

Collaborations are always good but make sure it is a win-win. Choose the one can be rewarding as they could take you most of the time of your day.

Mix it up

Vary the work you do so you’re able to jump between projects when you’re fed up. If you work on the same thing all day, every day, it gets tiresome and productivity can drop. The more styles and techniques you have under your belt, the better. It keeps you excited about what you’re doing.

Don’t live in a bubble

Separating work life from home life can be challenging as a freelancer. Always schedule in time for a social life. Factor in regular breaks, know when you’re going to start and stop for the day and stick to your schedule.

Last but not least, take care of your health and wellness. If you’re tired and feeling bad because you’re not getting enough sleep, good nutrition, or exercise, that’s going to reflect in your efficiency and productivity. Think about what creates energy for you versus what drains energy.

Improve your time management

It means figuring out better, faster ways to work. But before you enrol in starting to “beat the clock”, consider these counterintuitive ways to get more done.

Time yourself with your life and work priorities

The more you time yourself, and gain more self-awareness into how long a particular type of task takes you, the more time you will be able to actually identify and re-purpose in your schedule. Include your personal and social life in your calendar as a priority.

Do a daily to-do list and follow up on tasks

You are much more productive if you do one single thing at a time. Chart your day, figuring out a to-do list and focus on the most important task first, then go down the list. By following up on tasks you begin, you ensure that the process is completed start-to-finish.

Tighten up meetings

Limit meetings to 30 minutes, with a specific desired outcome. One hour in the worst scenario but note it on your calendar that will take 1 hour and let them know.

Be honest about timings

One of the best ways to manage your time is to be up-front about what you’re working on and calculate how much time you’ll be able to dedicate to a project. Your time resources are key to accomplish a project successfully.

Don’t dive right in

If you don’t see it on paper staring at you in the face, you won’t realize that you spend too much time on Facebook, or that you have the same people interrupting you all the time, asking you the same questions. Spend a week keeping a time log. Write down what you’re doing, how long it’s taking you, and who is interrupting you and what they wanted. Because the biggest time-management mistake people make is not realizing how much time they waste.

Prepare for your wasted time

Your day is likely filled with pockets of “wasted” time—an airport delay, those 15 minutes before your next conference call, and cancelled meetings, to name a few. Preparing to make the most of that time. Using cloud-based tools will let you work from anywhere and a to-do list will remind you of calls that need to be made or email messages that need to be written will keep you ready to use those pockets to get more done.

New email strategy

E-mail is one of the largest productivity killers that often leads to people working hard not smart. Too often people are multitasking and don’t even realize it because of technology notifications. For instance, you get a notification regarding a new e-mail, you click on it without thinking and in turn, stop what you are doing, you then read through the email and decide either to respond to it or revisit it later and eventually need to revisit your original task and remember where you left off. This type of multitasking can leave a person feeling like they are working hard and constantly busy because they are constantly shifting tasks and harming their overall productivity and focus.

Slow down

Slowing down and thinking about the approach to a situation will help you identify more efficient ways of accomplishing a task or project. Just five minutes of thinking before doing will help you consider the domino effects of your actions.

Project Management

Improving your time management will able you to manage your time more efficiently but you need a system. The project management will facilitate your creativity and productivity.

I use the following tools to set up our system and facilitates to work remotely:

To do list

Every morning first thing to do is your today’s tasks starting from the most important or urgent. You can use Todoist.

Project organisation

Setting yourself goals and deadlines will help you stay focused and maximize your efficiency drawing up both short-term (day) and longer-term (week and month) plans. Mark out some clearly defined milestones for different stages of a project, Map these onto your schedule to make sure they’re achievable. Use Asana to manage your team’s work, projects and tasks online.

Cloud storage

File storage that allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices and share files with team members. You can use Google drive.

Team communication

A cloud communication and sharing tool for teams where you can set up multiple workspaces and use it simultaneously. Use Slack.

Video conference

A cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. You can use Zoom.

Scheduling meetings

To schedule meetings without using emails you can use Google Calendar or Calendy.


We all want the freedom to explore new ideas and the opportunity to become the best versions of ourselves. But freedom doesn’t mean a lack of discipline. Discipline in leadership is an essential element for both personal and professional success.

Paying attention to your energy cycles is critical to working smarter. Be a master of your schedule and work when you feel like it in order to take the most of yourself. Be an architect of your life, to work when, and from where, you want. Why not life and work can come together?

This was written by HWL agency partner Vanessa Sans and also posted on her Linkedin.

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