Work Smarter Not Harder! A Job Well Done–The Revised Version!

Work Smarter Not Harder!  A Job Well Done–The Revised Version!

The title of this entry comes courtesy of my son-in-law, Cole and my daughter, Mandi–but more on that a little later…

"Work smarter not harder" image

…since getting home from my son’s graduation a few weeks ago, I’ve felt somewhat overwhelmed with trying to get caught up on everything that got neglected while my husband and I were away.  Besides going back to work, many household chores and yard projects needed our attention, as well.  I was also trying to get things ready for my son and daughter-in-law’s visit for a few weeks in their transition from dental school to Oklahoma, where Jake will do some advanced  training.  Forget a job well done, I was barely skimming the surface of everything I needed to accomplish!  My poor husband, who seems to take most things in stride–most men do, why is that, I wonder…it’s kind of exasperating!  Anyway, my husband would get home from work and start vacuuming in hopes that the hum of the motor and clean floors would lull my heightened anxiety level into a more zen-like state!  Even a mental reminder of my father’s sage advice to “have moderation in all things” just wasn’t working for me either.  Before drastic measures had to be taken to insure my well-being, I took it upon myself to seek the advice of trusted family members and friends and asked what they did to make their workload go more smoothly.  In doing so, I was able to calm my nerves a bit and ease back into more efficient productivity once again!

  • First, from my husband, I’ll title them simply–

Painting supplies        “Tom’s Tips”  

It’s all about preparation…blue painter’s tape, drop cloths and quality paint rollers, etc. are key to making the job go easier!

Also, be patient and take the time to broaden your knowledge base when working on a project…further frustration often comes from diving head long into a project (which is what I’m prone to do) and then getting blind-sided by obstacles that could have been anticipated by doing a little research up front.  By watching and asking questions from those “in the know”, Tom has tackled anything from expertly painting several rooms in our home, to “distressing” furniture projects.

Distressed furnitureDistressed table legs

  • Second, from my daughter, Malia and my son, Jake–

         It’s about making lists!

Making lists

I usually like lists too–I’m pretty sure I taught my kids to do them, but this time it seemed like I was like a character in an over-acted sit-com, scrunching up paper after paper and throwing them into an overflowing garbage can because my lists just got too long and intimidating!  Besides a “To Do” list, my friend Kellee, also gives her four boys a time frame to have the list completed–that way they have a little more freedom to choose when they want to finish doing the items on their list!  Kellee told me that when her boys have a little say as to when they could do their jobs, it made a big difference in the effort they put forth!  Just like my mom, Kellee, conducts inspections to make sure the finished chores meet her high standards!  These lists seem to work for Kellee, her boys are all hard workers!

  • Third, from two other friends, Janica and Sharon–

Don’t be afraid to enlist a bit of technology to help the job go quicker! 

Janica told me recently, that her most pressing project lately has been to finish a scrapbook for her youngest son, Brett.  The fact that she has completed baby books for her two older sons, but not for Brett, since she has been working full-time, has been a source of frustration for him.  Brett has been living in Alaska and informed his mom that his book better be waiting for him when he gets home–which is in a few weeks!  Janica said, “Thanks to modern technology and the magic of online photo books, I’m making progress!”  Janica also mentioned that this project has reminded her to “live in the moment and try hard not to procrastinate!”  

Sharon is another good friend, and she makes beautiful quilts.  Although this is a hobby for her, the patterns Sharon uses often need to be adapted to her taste or to the preference of the lucky person she’s making the quilt for; she said it has been “fun” (?) to figure out how to digitize all the embroidery on her computer, then transfer it to her sewing machine.  Sharon told me, “If I do it this way, I don’t have to do any of the sewing by hand!  Yeah!”  After all, it IS about finding a way to make a project easier!  Kudos to you both, Janica and Sharon!  (I’ll confess that for me, sometimes using technology doesn’t always make the job easier!)

“My Favorite Things” Quilt

made by: Sharon GrayMy Favorite Things Quilt

  • Now for the final “Coup de Gra’ce” from Cole and Mandi–

When I wrote to ask Cole and Mandi if they had any useful tips that helped them accomplish projects with a little more ease, Cole sent me an answer in his usual succinct style:  “Mandi and I have a motto in our family that we thought would be applicable…”

“Work smarter, not harder!  It’s all about efficiency…”

Love it!  Now what I need to do is figure out how I can do that on a more regular basis, and incorporate it better in my life!  Thanks Cole and Mandi!   

I’d love to hear some of the tips you have that help you work “smarter not harder”! 

–Mary

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