The old adage that there aren’t enough hours in the day is certainly true and so if you want to get more out of your time at work, then you need to be doing things differently. In this article we share some surprising ways that you can accomplish more and get faster results so that you don’t need to spend so many hours or late nights in the office.

Know how you’re really spending your time

If you really want to make changes to how you use your time at work, then the essential starting point has to be how you are currently spending your time. Keep a log of activities, distractions and interruptions for a week or two and it’s surprising what you’ll learn. Did you realise that you were spending that much time on Facebook for instance? The log will no doubt reveal some surprising realities including how much time you’re spending on unproductive activities and dealing with distractions. Armed with this new knowledge, you can now take steps to manage your time better.

Or perhaps you hadn’t appreciated there were quite so many lost pockets of time in your working day. You know what we mean – like a delayed flight or the 15 minutes in between conference calls. Nowadays cloud-based systems mean that you can still be working, even if you’re stuck at the airport terminal. And have a to-do list for usefully occupying those pockets of time so that they don’t end up wasted.

Work when you feel like it

Are you a morning person or do you normally only come to life late in the afternoon? We all have our own natural rhythms when our energy cycles and ability to focus are at their best and you can get more work done in a shorter period of time. And so if you’re a lark, then try and arrange your diary so that you focus on the difficult or more impactful tasks first thing in the morning. Schedule meetings, catch ups and less demanding tasks for the afternoon when your energy levels and concentration are not at their best. And if you’re more of a night owl, then reverse things around to suit your natural rhythm.

Play to your strengths

If you want to get more out of your working day then a good starting point is to focus on the areas you’re strongest in. The temptation is often to retain control and try and do everything ourselves. But the truth is that there will be some tasks that you are particularly good at performing and no doubt enjoy. At the same time, there will be other tasks that you’re less good at and as a result probably take you more time than they should. What’s more, there’s bound to be another team member that is actually better placed to perform those tasks. So the bottom line is be honest with yourself about your strengths and enlist the help of others or delegate those jobs that you’re not so good at. That way you will be freeing up more time to do the work you’re best at. And the organisation as a whole will be making the best use of resources.

Working smarter isn’t rocket science. It requires insight, focus and discipline to make sure that the time you spend at your desk is as productive as it can be. Use this tips to help get you started.