Smarter Not Harder, The Great Reevaluation
By: Jolene Peixoto
As I embarked on a ‘purposeful unemployment’ – stepping away from the corporate communications world for a three-month hiatus, I learned a LOT and chronicled my experience in a few posts on LinkedIn. Things like grit, sense of urgency, multi-tasking, and yes, that overused and now trite word – resilience – no longer felt like the markers of career success.
I read a great deal during my time off, including re-reading books I had read while working, but with a new lens. Essentialism, its complement, Effortless, both by Greg McKeown as well as The Practice of Groundedness by Brad Stulberg together sent a resounding message – to really focus on having a healthier, more sustainable approach to your work and goals as measures of success, (and sanity) in the process.
While working in the PR world brings an inherent time sensitiveness and urgency, some takeaways from these books and self-reflection brought me to the realization that saying ‘no’, ruthlessly prioritizing, remaining focused and single-tasking are even more important.
Strategies that I believe are critical to reworking our day-to-day include.
- Ruthlessly Prioritize: Don’t try to do it all. Instead, look at your list of PR priorities and choose the top 3 that will drive your objectives forward. The nice-to-have list can wait.
- Keep it Simple: Instead of over-complicating and overworking a PR plan, simplify it, take out the complexity and make it straightforward. Complexity doesn’t mean better. Easy doesn’t mean lazy.
- Acknowledge Daily Accomplishments: Write a ‘done for the day’ list. Develop a couple of big rocks for the day, and focus your efforts there. This speaks to my former habit to multi-task which is never as successful as single-tasking.
- Win With Steadiness: Reject the notion of powering through. Instead, focus on sustainable effort and pace. Not everything has to be done in a day. Sometimes the best work is the work you let marinate overnight, or for a weekend and re-read it with fresh eyes.
A few weeks into my new role, and this new mindset has proven far more successful than trying to tackle it all at once. I challenge you to take a look at your own work habits and employ some of these ‘smarter, not harder’ tactics in your own roles. I have no doubt you’ll find you accomplish more, in less time.