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Work Smarter!. Staff Professional Development June 5, 2014. Agenda. What is Working Smart? Boosting Your Brain Function Tips for Working Smarter Brainstorm. What Does Working Smarter Mean?.

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work smarter

Work Smarter!

Staff Professional Development

June 5, 2014

  • What is Working Smart?
  • Boosting Your Brain Function
  • Tips for Working Smarter
  • Brainstorm
what does working smarter mean
What Does Working Smarter Mean?

Work: A job or activity that you do regularly to earn money; the place where you do your job; the things that you do as part of your job. (Miriam Webster)

Smarter: Very good at learning or thinking about things; showing intelligence or good judgment.

(Miriam Webster)

Working Smarter: An empowered state of habitually and strategically achieving more goals, more often.

-Visa Development

why work smarter to boost your brain function
Why Work Smarter?To Boost Your Brain Function

Stephen Covey tells a story about a woodcutter who’s saw gets more blunt as time passes and he continues cutting down trees. If the woodcutter were to stop sawing, sharpen his saw and go back to cutting the tree with a sharp blade, he would actually save time and effort in the long run.

What does this mean? Having a balanced program for self-renewal in the areas of our life: physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual.

why work smarter to boost your brain function1
Why Work Smarter?To Boost Your Brain Function

Attention Span

  • On average our brains are only able to focus for 90 minutes and need at least 20 minutes rest.


Boost Your Brain Function

Take a Nap

Take a Nap!

Research indicates that when memory is first recorded in the brain, it is ‘fragile’ and easily forgotten, especially if the brain is asked to memorize more things. By taking a nap, you are pushing memories to the “more permanent storage” preventing them from being “overwritten”.


Boost Your Brain Function

Take a Nap

Study of participants that did remarkably better on a test following a nap vs. those that did not sleep.


Boost Your Brain Function

Spend Time in Nature

By spending time in nature, it helps to reset our attention span and relax our minds.

  • Experiment by Daniel Goleman(author of Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellence) studied the difference of walking down a busy city street vs. a quiet park.
  • The level of attention needed to navigate a busy street is high enough that the walk doesn’t let the brain relax to reset our focus levels.

work smart tip
Work Smart Tip

Be Happy! Learn to maintain a positive state of mind.

Shawn Anchor – American educator, author and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology.

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Work Smart Tip
  • Don’t Check eMail First Thing…
    • Your brain gets overwhelmed with information and ideas, and your personal objectives and goals start to slip.
    • Leave emails to early in the afternoon.
work smart tip2
Work Smart Tip
  • Prioritize Top 3 Goals
    • Prioritize your top 3 Goals for the day first thing or the last thing of each day for the next day.
    • You can remember 3 things to do in a day relatively easily.
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Work Smart Tip


  • Stand Up meetings
    • On average 34% less time than stand up meetings.
    • Sitting is the ‘new smoking’.
  • Walking Meetings
    • Need to grab a few extra steps to reach 10,000? Schedule walking meetings for your next 1:1.


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Work Smart Tip

Get Moving!

  • Get up and stretch
  • Take a break - go for a 5-10 minute walk
  • Get a cup of coffee or water
  • Attend a fitness class at lunch
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Work Smart Tip

“Your ability to make great decisions is a limited resource.”

  • Conserve your Decision-Making Energy at Every opportunity.
    • Become disciplined about not paying attention to non-urgent tasks until it is essential:
      • Turn off phone during meetings.
      • Don’t expend energy thinking about a project until you have all the information you need.
      • Delegate
work smart tip6
Work Smart Tip
  • Protect Quality Thinking Time
    • If you’ve got a particularly challenging issue or project, devote 30 to 60 minutes a day, or several hours 1-day a week (block the time on your calendar).
    • Find a quiet space in your office area to work.
    • Turn off all distractions (email, phone ringer, etc).
work smart tip7
Work Smart Tip
  • Single – Task
    • Is there really such a thing as multi-tasking?
    • Our brains can really do only one thing at a time.
    • Multi-tasking between 2 activities takes the same amount of time as it does to do a 1 task at a time.
    • Have 2 priorities? Do them 1 at a time!
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Work Smart Tip
  • Take Care of Yourself – Carve out Down Time
    • Take your vacation time.
    • Unplug! Do not check your email messages while on vacation.
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Work Smart Tip
  • Recognize Your Accomplishments
    • No matter how small, or how large – celebrate!
    • What do you do to recognize achievement?
work smart tips summary
Work Smart Tips - Summary
  • Allow your brain to recharge
  • Respect the attention span
  • Take a Nap
  • Be Happy
  • Prioritize your tasks
  • Think about different ways to have your meeting
  • Get moving
  • Think about when you do your best thinking – and save that for decision making
  • Schedule project and concentration time in your calendar
  • Think about if you can really multi-task
  • Take your vacation time
  • Recognize your accomplishments

What are Work Smart Tips you have used?

Why have they worked?