With fall’s colder weather and darker days comes a recommitment to work—no more half Fridays (for some) and long weekends in the sun. Autumn is all about career goals and refocusing your energy toward work instead of play. But being back in career mode shouldn’t mean spending 12 hours a day tethered to a desk. Here’s how to get the most out of your workday without working overtime.
Wake up early. The early bird gets the worm, or at least, fits more productive hours into the day. Rather than waking up late and rushing out the door in a hurry, rising early means you can get the mundane tasks of the day done and out of the way, and get to work on time, in a good mood and with a clear head. There will be no distractions to kill your focus and productivity.
Always be learning. The main way to work smarter is to actually become smarter, and that means continued learning, always. Graduation day doesn’t mean you should never pick up a book again. Study your industry as much as you can. Make time for podcasts, books, seminars, coaching, learning from the experts. This is how you learn the tricks that allow the superstars to earn more while working less.
Schedule time off. If you don’t schedule it, it might not happen. Scheduling will keep you motivated and on track to get all the work you need finished on time—or early! It’s a great way to kick your productivity into high gear and slacking to the curb. Also, overworking yourself is a guaranteed way to suffer burnout and become your most unproductive, unhappy self.
Delegate. This is a big one. If you’re a type-A personality, it’s probably really hard for you but it’s an important skill to master. Delegate the tasks that you don’t need to do yourself to make more time for the tasks only you can do. Having an assistant to deal with email follow-ups, scheduling, travel arrangements, and many other small tasks, will free up so many hours of your day—you’ll wonder why you ever wasted so much time before.