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How Smart People Remain Super-Effective at Work

“I work so hard all the time yet I’m unable to meet my goals!”

“There’s hardly any time for my personal life! Work takes up all my time!”

We hear such statements often at our workplace. Whether you are a beginner starting out in your professional life or a senior executive, you must have faced situations when work becomes so overwhelming that your productivity starts to erode.

In today’s era where your work-life and personal life end up becoming intertwined, it’s becoming extremely important to manage your time and energy in order to remain efficient and carry out your tasks effectively.

How Smart People Manage to Be Effective

The truly successful people understand the power of smart work and not just hard work. This smart working style gives them more time for themselves and their families without compromising on their professional success.

You too can adopt some of these simple and common-sense practices to make sure your effectiveness at work remains awesome. Are you ready to learn these smart practices?

Write Things Down

Writing Lists
PC: Toshiyuki IMAI via Flickr

This might seem like a very basic tip to follow. But the truth is, more than 80% of the people I know rarely bother writing stuff down when they are given tasks or when planning their day-to-day tasks.

I know the misfortune which befalls those who don’t write because I was one of them. I thought I had a great memory and could remember tasks which needed doing without much effort!

What usually happened was I would remember the unimportant tasks (as they ‘re easy to do) while forgetting the critical ones. Also, not writing down usually results in losing track of old activities which need follow-up as time goes by!

Write is Might

Don’t make this mistake anymore. Effectiveness is sometimes simply knowing what needs to be done and when to do it. These are enough to keep you focused and will limit your non-value adding activities to a minimum.

Smart people organize themselves very carefully when it comes to listing down tasks. They define their own way to categorize and prioritize the tasks which they are responsible for. Some of them use old diaries and notebooks while some leverage technology.

Writing tasks down gives you a reference point to track your progress. And with regular tracking and updating your task-sheet, your effectiveness is bound to increase!

Use the Power of Procrastination

Do Everything?
PC: john.schultz via Flickr

In case you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind, hear me out fully. Procrastination is the trait which helps us to conveniently postpone work to some unseen time in the future. Usually seen in lazy people, this trait ruins their lives and makes them unproductive.

But procrastination can also be used as an effective tool to decide the tasks to do immediately and plan tasks which can be postponed to a later date! Smart people instinctively understand this and put it to deadly use.

Usually when we make our to-do lists for the day, we fill them with 80% of junk tasks which are neither urgent nor important. This always leads to excess energy and time wasted on tasks which never seem to end.

This sort of hyperactivity might make you seem busy and hardworking to others but in the long run, you’ll only end up fooling yourself! Don’t let your work routine make you mediocre!

(Suggested Read: 3 Destructive Habits Which Make You Mediocre)

Once you have your to-do list ready, eliminate half of the tasks which can wait and don’t need your urgent attention. You’ll be amazed to see 20 – 25% of these tasks will disappear on their own! (This usually happens because in a week, some of them would have lost their importance or would have resolved themselves)

Look at the Outcome and Not Time

Ripple Impact
PC: Scott Cresswell via Flickr

A lot of people make the classic mistake of judging effectiveness by counting the number of hours spent on a particular task. Unfortunately the tasks which involve a lot of grunt work end up taking more time than the ones which are short and powerful.

Learn to map the importance of tasks by their ability to impact your goals. By doing so, you will find that a lot of these time-consuming activities can be delegated to a later time when your energy levels are low.

The really smart people manage to combine their low-value tasks with some multi-tasking. This might involve listening to music or an audiobook! All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy after all!

Hobbies are your Best Friends

Hobby Reading
PC: Kamil Porembiński

If you look at the people who are incredibly effective at work, they usually have one or two hobbies which they are passionate about. Hobbies are a crucial component of our lives which rejuvenate us and make work less stressful.

Whether it be a game of tennis, reading or even a long walk, make sure you take some time off to do what you like! This helps you to relax and regroup your energies so you can give the best at your workplace the next day.

Breaks Destroy Monotony

Laugh away
PC: Ed Schipul

The best wisdom to remember is “Never let yourself become overwhelmed by work”

If you feel the strain is getting on your nerves, just drop the work for an hour and give yourself a much-needed break.

The super-effective people are the ones who take regular breaks to recharge themselves. They move around and talk to the people around them. They build connections and share stories. Sometimes this activity by itself opens up chances of collaborating with others and increasing effectiveness!

The famous Austrian endocrinologist Hans Selye told us: “It’s not stress that kills us. It’s our reaction to it”

So do the best you can and learn to let go. Wish you all a productive journey ahead!


Published in Career Self-Development Uncategorized


  1. Rohan Chaubey (@TechBluemoon)

    Rohan Chaubey (@TechBluemoon)

    Hi Niks,

    These tips will not only help professionals but also Students or homemakers to manage their work effectively.

    I often forget important things and end up doing all the trivial work before lol, so maintaining a to-do list or writing it down somewhere can surely help.

    Yes, I am one of those lazy people who love postponing everything… If you remember I am still left to comment on that post of yours where I lost my comment accidently. You can make out how lazy I am. 😛

    For the first time after reading your post I got to know we can actually use procrastination wisely too. Procrastination can be good wow! 😀

    Taking regular breaks and dedicating some time to a hobby is something I have been doing. The results are quite impressive. It re-energizes us and helps to re-gain motivation too. :)

    Great post as always. Loved the Hans Selye’s quote at the end.
    – Rohan Chaubey.

    • Hey Rohan!

      Thanks for the comment! :) I’m glad you could benefit out of it!

  2. priyanka


    Hi Nik,

    I remember how I always used to forget my tasks list assigned by my GL in the beginning but thanks to my mentor from whom i learnt to maintain the to do list so yes i can definitely say that it helps.Nice post indeed.Have a great weekend :)

  3. Lea Bullen

    Lea Bullen

    Hi Nikshep,

    As far as writing things down, I was like you once also. I have a pretty good memory in general but put for stress on myself by trying to remember everything I had to do. As you know, that didn’t work out too well most of the time.

    The tough part about trying to remember a number of things is not just trying to keep it in mind but the stress that comes with that kind of pressure. It can be so aggrivating and disruptive when you forget something.

    I learned that the hard way myself.

    Breaks are good for me too. I like to continue to work when I feel like I’m on a roll. But now I know when a break from the task is in order. This has become so helpful since I’m no longer burning myself out.


    • Hey Lea!

      Continuing work when on a roll is a good way to go! You’re right, the best work happens when you’re one with the flow! :) thanks for stopping by!

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