“What Does Working Smarter Really Mean?” is written by YapStone.
You’ve probably heard the expression “Work smarter, not harder.” Essentially, it means that there is no inherent glory in being the first one in the office and the last one out if you’re wasting your time in between. It’s better to be the person arriving at noon and leaving at 5 if you can make those hours more productive.
Of course, it’s better to be efficient and productive than to waste time looking and feeling busy. But changing your approach to the way you work can be difficult to execute. There is a common misconception among entrepreneurs that “working smarter” just means delegating all of your work to others to save time in the long run. Surely, there must be some middle ground between burning the midnight oil and hiring out every aspect of your business.
At YapStone, we believe working smarter requires a shift in strategy as much as it does a shift in mentality. Here are some actionable steps to help improve your workflow:
Set SMARTer Goals
Creating a to-do list for the day’s activities is a great way to stay on task, but don’t pack it too full. According to productivity expert, Tony Wong, you should take a ‘less is more approach’ and focus your to do list on your top priorities only. This way, you won’t become overwhelmed and shut down.
Once you’ve set a plan for the day, map out the bigger goals you want to reach. You’ve probably heard of them, but don’t underestimate the strategy behind setting SMART goals – goals that are specific, measureable, applicable, relevant, and timely. Defining your goals more concretely can help you identify the tasks that don’t contribute to your plan. Yapsters stay on track by meeting with managers to discuss goals and logging their progress online. This level of “goal visibility” also makes makes it easier to identify and discuss potential barriers.
Find Your Sweet Spot
According to studies, your workplace environment can have a pretty huge impact on the quality of work you produce. Work spaces that are dimly lit, confining, or uncomfortable are distracting and inhibit your ability to fully focus. In her book Create a Thriving Workplace, Anetta Pizag emphasizes that creating a workplace that is fun and open fosters happier and harder working employees.
This is why more and more companies, especially those in the Fintech industry, are turning away from traditional work environments like cubicles and confining desks, and have begun adopting more collaborative, open spaces. At YapStone’s Santa Monica office, you might find engineers working in breakout rooms, designers stretching their legs at a standing desk, and marketing team members meeting at the kitchen table – and don’t be surprised if you see a few Yapsters on the rooftop catching some rays for a quick afternoon break.
Take Breaks When Needed
And speaking of breaks, a survey done by the Harvard Business Review on vacation time and productivity level found that employees who take more time off work faster and show a strong desire to accomplish their duties. There have also been studies that show taking more breaks and spending less time at your desk can actually help you accomplish more in the long run.
Taking time to reboot your brain is essential in maintaining an optimal level of work. Companies are starting to acknowledge the potential benefits by offering flexible vacation – and employees rejoice. When YapStone recently announced its new flexible-time-off policy, there were “literally cheers around the office,” says Debra Tenenbaum, YapStone Chief People Officer.
But you don’t have to take a week away to reboot. Senior Vice President of Marketing, Troy Scarlott, says regular short walks to the beach help him revive and return to the office ready to put in the work.
Let Your Passions Drive You
Working smarter is part strategy, part passion. You can follow all the right steps to be more productive, but if you don’t like what you do, your drive will fizzle fast. Rarely does anyone spend 100 percent of their time doing exactly what they love. But hopefully there are aspects of your position that excite you and fulfill your passions. Focus on these aspects and pursue them wholeheartedly.
We have a saying at YapStone that “our currency is passion”, because we believe that if you love what you do, you’re more likely to put everything you have into it. With the ever-evolving landscape of Fintech, it’s not difficult to find something that fuels your passion. Saran Mandair, VP of Production Operations and Global IT says, “At YapStone, we are constantly exploiting technology breakthroughs to leapfrog competition and staying nimble to adapt to constantly changing business needs.”
Focusing on your customers is another good way to reignite your passions and drive productivity. Payment service providers that are focused on the customer experience will be most successful in the next wave of innovation. Our goal at YapStone is to deliver seamless, frictionless payments for our customers – and our customers’ customers. Remembering that the customer experience is ultimately what defines our company success keeps us moving forward.
And having this deeper sense of purpose restores energy, even with the most mundane of tasks. Christopher Crum, SVP of Sales and Customer Success, says for him, working smarter means asking himself if the tasks he is doing lead to bettering the customer experience. If the answer is yes, then they are tasks worth his effort.
At YapStone, we believe in working smarter, not harder. That’s why we are so dedicated to providing smart, effective payment solutions for our partners. Your time is valuable; respect it with a solid plan, getting the rest you need to stay focused, and tuning in to your passions and your customers. Once you start working this way, the results will speak for themselves.