Throughout my life Iâ??ve always heard the term of working smarter not harder. Iâ??ll be honest with you; I didnâ??t really know what that meant up until a few weeks ago.
Thereâ??s many ways that you can improve your life, and the first begins with your body. You should always get enough sleep, exercise, balanced diet, and me time.
I knew that this was the formula to feeling great, but in the past this just wasnâ??t possible for me. There was never enough time. I was always working more, and it seemed like my days would be perfect if they were 28 hours long instead of 24.
So the first thing I started doing was hacking my brain to sleep less. Polyphasic sleep is a different approach to sleeping, as opposed to monophasic. Basically instead of sleeping one long 8-10 hour block during the night, you sleep less, and make it up through nap(s) during the day. For me this translated into sleeping 5-6 hours at night and napping 20 minutes when I got home from school. With the extra time I was also able to continue exercising twice a day like I did during the summer. I functioned as good with 5 hours and twenty minutes of sleep, as I used to with 8.5-10 hours a night.
Ever since I started doing this Iâ??ve been feeling better than ever. The best way I can describe it, is that I feel like superman. Iâ??m never tired anymore and I wake up without an alarm, every day. I go to bed 2 hours later than I used to last year, and I wake up an hour earlier; still feeling great. As for the diet Iâ??m not really focusing too much on it, because thereâ??s not much I can change. Exercising is also pretty relaxing, so luckily for me it counts as my me-time as well.
So if you want to start doing more, your first step is putting your body into optimal condition. You canâ??t work smarter if youâ??re tired or lethargic.
Productivity and Goals
Being productive and setting goals is something everyone can relate to. Itâ??s also something that most of us are bad at. There are many different techniques that you can use to improve productivity, such as:
- Pomodoro TechniqueÂ
- 30-minutes a day
- Jerry Seinfeldâ??s productivity tipÂ
- Solar Flaring
- Keeping Track of Your Goals and More
Personally, I suck at setting long term goals and canâ??t think of even one long term goalÂ I’veÂ ever accomplished. My only advice on setting goals and being productive isnâ??t just working to finish your tasks. When youâ??re done with your work feel free to pause and take a look at it. Admire your work and be proud of the things that youâ??ve accomplished, because if you arenâ??t, chances are you wonâ??t be motivated enough to do it again.
After all you spend a lot of time and effort working on different goals/tasks, you should be happy with your results instead of just mindlessly moving on to the next thing.
Learning New Things
When studying new topics that you must learn, it can be pretty daunting. Luckily for you thereâ??s a better way to do this. As opposed to using a site such as http://quizlet.com/ to learn from flashcards, you should use a program called Anki.
Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard program. It focuses on teaching you the material you donâ??t know, as opposed to wasting your time with the stuff that you already have learned. So when you are presented with a question, you think about the answer, after you see the answer you can decide whether you are feeling 1-4 on that question. If you choose 1 the question will be repeated soon, if 2 it will be repeated the next day, if you are a 3 the question will be repeated in a couple of days, and if you pick 4 it will be repeated in a week or two. So through this method you learn the stuff that you need to learn, but also get a chance to review other terms when you may forget them in the future. Anki is available on PC, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Working Smarter, Not Harder
I canâ??t really tell you how to integrate smarter solutions into your life. Thereâ??s so many different areas that you can improve, you just have to find what works for you. For example: the past few years if my homework problems were be too hard, I would just skip them. Now I found a free website called Slader, which has the answers/solutions to every single Math/Chemistry textbook ever made. By using Slader I am able to actively learn during my homework, rather than completely give up. For me that is a win, because Iâ??m learning, and in that sense Iâ??m working smarter not harder.
Another example is that I recently (past few years actually) started using Khan Academy. It is a website that has videos on anything from history, to basic addition, and calculus/trig. By using that website Iâ??m able to learn more efficiently and thus work smarter, not harder.
Also I realized that exercising twice a day may be a bit too much. I used to run twice a day and then workout at the gym once a day. The reason I was doing this was to be active, and also because I was trying to cut down on my mile time. I realized that if I run every other day Iâ??ll have more energy for working more at the gym, and Iâ??ll also have more energy to run faster miles every other day. By cutting down on running to only once a day, every other day, I was able to work smarter on my running goals and also at the gym.
Hopefully I was able to give you some ideas on improving your life. If you have any other techniques/ideas please feel free to share them in the comments.
Article written by Octavian Ristea.