You’ve heard the old saying “work hard to get ahead,” right? In my experience, I’ve found “work smarter not harder” to be more helpful.

Everyone has limitations on their resources. Your time, money, effort, and your body all have boundaries that, while flexible, need to be respected. That’s why thinking ahead is so important. Effort for effort’s sake doesn’t tend to produce great results -- it’s much more likely that it will just lead to an epic coffee addiction and a never ending to-do list.

By taking the time to reflect and ask yourself questions, you can make sure that you’re spending your time and effort on the right tasks.

Here are a few questions to start you off:

What’s your goal?

Does this task or project help you achieve that goal?

Does this effort provide a foundation for the next step?

Use these questions as a filter to help decide the best use of your time and effort in the long-term. After you practice this yourself, take this technique to the teams you manage. Asking questions and reflecting on how your efforts impact your goals will help you and your teams work more effectively.

Work smart, be flexible, and remember that questions are useful tools.

When was the last time you assessed your organization’s efforts? How do you measure success?

If you’re making time for this, we should talk. Moving your organization from a reacting mindset to a long-term thinking mindset will give you and your team satisfaction and results.

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