Work Smarter | Not Harder

Sometimes working harder doesn’t necessarily mean being more productive with better results. We may need to reflect on why. Could taking time to reflect on our day, our work, and on our lives boost our overall effectiveness. What are some other ways we can become more productive?

Researchers at Harvard Business School, have found that taking time out of your day to reflect, can boost productivity by nearly 25%!

The old adage may ring true, “work smarter, not harder”.

Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino says, “When we stop, reflect, and think about learning, we feel a greater sense of self-efficacy. We’re more motivated and we perform better afterward.”

“work smarter, not harder”

He and others at Harvard have a working paper, Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance. The authors conducted a number of studies with over 400 participants to uncover whether, “if we’d take some time out for reflection, we might be better off.”

Therefore, if we take time out of our busy days to reflect, we may start to find that we become more efficient and effective at our work. Finding ways for you to pause and reflect at work may not always be as easy as it sounds. 

Here are 5 practical suggestions for increasing productivity on a busy workday:


1. Take a coffee break 

Because most offices and work environments have a “water cooler” area, take a minute to step away. This is a great opportunity to think through the day and connect with others sharing what you’re up to. Simply giving ourselves a chance to gather and share our thoughts can make a big difference in our work.

Luminate Laté Art

2. Journal

Taking five minutes to jot down our thoughts can be immensely useful. Not only does journaling allow us to clear space for more thoughts, it makes those thoughts available to us later on. According to JSTOR, an online digital library for all sorts of academic content, not journaling can be a significant handicap for learning.

Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

3. Take a walk

Physical activity has long been associated with mental health. Just walking for 10 minutes can affect your mental game. According to a study done at Stanford University, “walking opens up the free flow of ideas… increasing creativity…”. So next time you find yourself stumped, take a quick walk for some new fresh ideas.

Photo by Javier García on Unsplash

4. Get Physical

And just like taking a walk can help with creativity, physical exercise can help with memory. Researchers have found that increased heart rate can boost your memory and learning ability. Perform some simple exercises like jumping jacks, pushups, or anything that ups your heart rate, will help increase your productivity.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

5. Pray

Our greatest opportunity for reflection to improve productivity, is through prayer. Even more so when we consider the ultimate source of creativity is our Creator. Taking a few minutes to pray can greatly affect our mental state of mind and ultimately increase our productivity.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


So what do you think? Let us know in the comments or send us an email with your own ways of increasing productivity and reflecting on how to be more efficient.

Comments ( 2 )

  • Chris Odom says:

    Great article! Thanks

    • Mildred Thomas says:

      Praise the Lord Chris,

      I love those five steps for increasing productivity, while I was reading the Lord gave me 2 ideas for marketing. using, I Timothy 4-4 verse and John 1-1 & Gen.1-1. Maybe your marketing team can help me put together some yellow ribbons as book markers to support the five steps and back them up with these scriptures. Let me know. Thank you.

      God bless, Mildred

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