Work smarter, not harder in 2021

It’s a new year, a new month – what better time to have a proper restart? This is the time to do it, don’t let the autopilot run your life, career and choices, make sure you are in charge of your journey through the year and beyond.

As you kick off 2021, stop and think about how you spend your time and how you can work smarter, not harder.

What do you need to focus on this year to achieve your goals and ambitions?

Part of this is about TIME LEADERSHIP (not ‘time management’ as it’s about more than just managing your time). It is all about self-leadership, leading yourself entails planning your time well, blocking time for the important stuff too, so the urgent stuff doesn’t win every time. It’s about thinking both short- and long-term.

It could be something as simple as this for example

Create a visual reminder of your TIME LEADERSHIP and stick to it.

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”

Henry David Thoreau

The other part is about HABITS & ACTIVITIES – being outcome focused rather than task focused. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

Question 1

What should you STOP doing? Dare to challenge practices that don’t deliver for the overall outcome. Are there things you are doing just because you always have? Assess if they add value and lead to the desired outcomes – if not, let them go.

Question 2

Is there anything you should START doing? Is there something you’ve been putting off? Could you achieve more by doing something different/new? Think of trends in your industry or profession – what are others doing (successfully) that you haven’t yet explored?

Question 3

What should you CONTINUE doing? What works really well for you? Evaluate your results. Ask for feedback and recognise the key factors (actions and behaviours) of your success. Celebrate your strengths and success to ensure you appreciate what you already do well. Sometimes success factors are overlooked as they seem so natural. Make them count.

“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”

Leo Babauta


These three questions could and should also be explored with your team. Use the creativity of the whole team to figure out what your focus should be as a team. It’s a great way to reset focus and attention for the new year, with everyone’s observations and insights, while also doing an evaluation and recognition of the year that’s passed.

And as a final point, then ask yourself and your team:

  • How will you stick to your commitments of working smarter, not harder?
  • Who could support you? Who else could you involve, to help you succeed?
  • And what would be the win-win aspect, that helps both parties succeed? There’s always a win-win when we look for it.

Here’s to a work-smarter-not-harder 2021!

Author: Mandy and Elisabet

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