Work Smarter Not Harder: 17 Great Tips

In Dan Pink’s Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself he closes the book with a long, excellent list of “Work Smarter Not Harder” type advice for people who want to start working for themselves.

  • Make a “to don’t” list. Another gem from the inimitable Tom Peters. Prepare a list that contains all the things you shouldn’t waste your time on – useless tasks, unnecessary meetings, worthless phone calls, and so on. Then place it next to your “to do” list – and stick to it. (More here.)
  • Carry a notebook and pen. Thomas Edison did it. Virginia Woolf did it. And so did Charles Darwin. They toted a notebook with them everywhere and wrote down ideas that popped into their heads… Page through the notebook occasionally. Trust me: This is a fantastic way to spark ideas and to weave creativity into the fabric of your life. (More here and here.)
  • Hone your elevator speech. Be able to explain who you are, what you do, and why someone could benefit from your unique talents – in 30 seconds. Then cut your pitch to 15 seconds. Practice it. Sharpen it… Caveat: An elevator speech shouldn’t sound like an elevator speech. It’s really an exercise in being honest, concise, and interesting.
  • Establish an opening ritual. Try to begin your day the same way. If you work at home, maybe take a short walk before you go to your office. Have a cup of tea or read or meditate before starting your work. An opening ritual will ease your mind, body and soul into the day. (More here.)

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