Hard work is something that I am an advocate of.

Aptly, I’ve been called a hard worker instead of smart. And it’s because from the beginning of my career, I outwork everyone else. Don’t work hard work smart.

Before I met my now-husband, I never took more than two days off work. In fact, he was the one who convinced me to take a whole four days off when we first met.

I understand that some of my emotional challenges come from my childhood. My mom was a waitress, and there were times when we didn’t have enough money for food. These experiences made me want to be successful so that I would never have to worry about being without again. So, I worked hard in school and then continued to work smart not hard in my career.

I was driven to succeed when I started my company, Popforms, last year. So, I worked extremely hard– often more than 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for months.

I found out I was pregnant, and my enormous daily productivity decreased as a result of morning sickness and low energy. It felt like being an athlete who became injured and could no longer compete. If I wanted to be successful, I had to learn how to better manage my time and energy rather than just working hard all the time.

1. Doing the smart work

If you’re the type of person who is used to working hard, it can be challenging to adjust to working smart. This usually involves delegating certain projects so that you have more free time. The key is to think about your career in the long term. Don’t just focus on what a decision could mean for the next six months or even the next year; instead, consider its implications over 10 or 20 years.

In just a few weeks, I’ll have my due date. At that point, I completely gave up on spending 16 hours every day at Popforms and instead only work a handful of hours each day because those are the truly effective ones. Consequently, I started paying more attention to which project’s self-imposed deadlines would be missed if 20 coding hours weren’t spent on it. Rather than that, I now focus on how best can my skills be applied so the company will succeed in future endeavors. If you want to know how to excel at your job too, here’s what you should do:

How to work smarter not harder

Get clear about what moves the needle forward. Examine your to-do list and overall objectives intently. Some of these items are pivotal and only you can do them, but chances are many aren’t as important. Ask yourself whether completing this task will help grow your business. If the answer is no, get rid of it.

Have a conversation with your manager, cofounder, or coach about what goals are most important for the business and how you specifically can help achieve them. How can you use your energy most efficiently? Where will your efforts have the biggest impact?

2. Say no to other people’s schedules.

Coffee meetings, emails, and social media engagement can be great for networking, but at this stage, they aren’t productive for my biggest goals. When other people reach out to you, they are putting you on their schedule. Be conscious of your time and not get sucked into other people’s priorities if it isn’t productive for you as well.

3. Don’t spend all day stuck in email; Work smart not hard.

I also leave my email closed for most of the day and only check it a couple of times. I even put on an autoresponder to let people know I’d be slow to respond, so I could relieve the pressure of always being “on.” Answering email rarely moves my business forward, and so giving it less priority in my daily routine gives me more time for things that actually do matter.

4. Restructure your day.

Being productive means making the most of the time when you feel your best. For example, morning sickness makes it very clear that when you’re tired and ill for a part of the day, you have to make use of the time when you’re feeling better. But this is relevant for everyone, even on days when we’re not sick; there are moments when we’re “in the zone” where we should focus on more important tasks. Guard that time in your schedule by designating it for work that requires creativity so that other people’s schedules or needs don’t encroach upon it.

5. Plot out your week in advance.

If you want to be successful, you need to be strategic with your time. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s requests and busy work if you don’t carefully guard your time. Set aside some time each week to look at your priorities and block out time that they’ll get done. These are valuable work tips for achieving a balanced life.

6. Enjoy your down time.

If you want to be truly productive, put down the phone and stop micromanaging. Freeing up your schedule doesn’t mean spending those extra hours glued to your inbox or stalking employees’ every move—it’s about taking a break so you can return rejuvenated and better equipped to tackle whatever Comes next.

I’m not shy to admit that when my doctor recommended I take it easy for the sake of my pregnancy, I was less than thrilled. taking a break from work – especially when you’re as ambitious as I am – feels like punishment. But then I realized that this time off would allow me to refocus on what’s important: my career goals. In just a few weeks, not only willI have a beautiful baby girl — but also the power and clarity aboutmy careerto make mugiftsmatter more than ever before . As a result, ı’l1 be able to come back tobetter CEO with an evencompany— which has been my goal fromthe beginning..

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