I’m a hard worker.

But sometimes it pays more to lay off the hard work and look for ways of working smarter.

I try to work smart whenever I can so that I have more time to enjoy life. Plus, you can scale your business better and faster when you are doing less of the mundane and focusing more on the big picture items that contribute to growth.

As you consider how you can make the most of your time, here are some ideas for working smarter, instead of working harder:

1. Find Your Peak Productivity Time

Everyone works better at different times of the day. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, one of the big keys to working smarter is to identify your peak productivity time.

Figure out when you get more done, and try to concentrate your efforts during those hours.

When you work during peak productivity, you actually get more done, even if you are working fewer hours.

Figure out what makes sense for you, and try to schedule your work during the hours that you will be most focused and productive.

2. Use Canned Responses

How many times have you answered the same question several times via email?

I do all the time.

It’s an absolute killer to constantly answer the same questions. You can get around this by creating canned responses. That way, when you get a question that you’ve seen a dozen times before, all you have to do is insert your canned response.

This saves me hours each week, whether I’m answering questions about my rates or offering advice to aspiring freelancers.

Not only that, but canned responses are great when you have a virtual assistant. Your assistant can just pop the canned response in and move on. It’s a way for you to work smarter without doing the work beyond preparing the responses.

3. Automate What You Can

Create systems that allow you to automate what you can. Working smarter is about figuring out how to automate processes that are routine.

Scheduling social media is a good example. Invoicing, paying bills, and other items can also easily be automated. Instead of trying to manage those things all the time, you can let them go on autopilot.

It’s still getting done, but you don’t have to do it. It’s a brilliant way to of working smarter. The more you can automate, the better off you’ll be in the long run — and the more time you’ll have to devote to growing your business.

4.  Outsource

It might seem counterintuitive to pay someone else to do your work, but it’s an essential part of working smarter.

As a business owner, you don’t want to waste time on mundane, routine tasks that don’t have a big return on your investment. Your time is valuable, and you want to use it right.

Make a list of tasks that are fairly simple to do, but that might be tedious. Are these things that almost anyone else can do? Some items might include scheduling social media posts, updating your blog, doing payroll/accounting. There are a number of things you should be outsourcing as a business owner.

Once you start updating your workflow and systems, you’ll save more time and scale up faster — and it will be better for your business in the long run.

I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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