Make 2022 the year you work smarter, not harder

productivity Jan 19, 2022
Chelsea Pottenger Resilience Speaker sitting at laptop giving a growth mindset workshop

It’s that time of year again. You’ve enjoyed your holidays, set your new year’s goals and have settled back into work. 

Along with heading back to work, the pandemic is in its third year of existence, and although it’s now a standard part of life, it’s also caused mass burnout and stress across the world. 

Workplaces are constantly adjusting to reflect the current situation. As a result, we have to become experts in flexibility - switching from working from home to back in the office to a mixture of the two. The constant changes, unpredictability, and uncertainty eventually take an emotional toll. 

Even after a break, you may still be feeling the impacts of the past few years and could be lacking motivation and inspiration. 

If this is you, make 2022 the year to work smarter, not harder. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can be flexible, adaptable and we have more power than ever to take matters into our own hands. 

So, how can you work harder, not smarter, to be more productive and foster your mental health? Read on.

Make the most of your morning

Mornings are the time to set the trajectory of your day off in the right direction. There’s a reason so many successful people preach the importance of having a good morning routine - it can make or break the rest of your day.

Read more: How to create the best morning routine for you. 

An easy way to offload some of the stress that comes with starting the day is to eliminate the need to make mundane decisions. Layout your clothes or organise your lunch the night before. Write your to-do list before you go to bed, or create a simple plan for your day ahead. Wake up at the same time and follow the same morning structure each day, e.g. wake up, meditate, exercise, make breakfast, shower, work. This will eventually become a habit, and you won’t even have to think about it. Having a consistent morning routine will free up more mental space for decisions later in the day.

Use your phone wisely

Phones are one of the biggest distractions that can damage your productivity. Turn your phone off when working or install an app, such as Forest, to reduce mindless scrolling. If you struggle with reducing screen time, set some actionable goals around your phone use, such as a non-negotiable 1-hour phone-free period before bed or weekend digital detox.

As much as they detriment productivity, phones can also help save time. Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for significant or urgent discussions.

Additionally, keep an eye on your tabs. We’ve all been there: 50 tabs open, aimlessly flicking through trying to find that one tab while your laptop sounds like it’s about to take off. Instead, aim to have a max of 2 to 3 tabs open at all times. This will reduce distractions, save time, and prevent your browser from slowing down.

Protect your time by setting boundaries

Time is valuable, so setting boundaries with coworkers, friends and family to protect your time is imperative to your mental health and productivity. With that said, setting boundaries can be difficult and requires decisiveness and the ability to stand up for yourself. Here are a few quick tips:

Put yourself first

There will always be more things vying for your time than time available. So check in with yourself regularly. Are you feeling overwhelmed, stressed or burnt out? It may be time to reduce your workload and spend some time to yourself.

Learn to say no

Saying no might not always feel good, but it’s necessary to save your own time and energy. The next time you need to say no, be assertive but polite, addressing if and when you can help. An example of this is saying, “Sadly, I’m afraid I can’t help with that now, but I will let you know when and if I can help.”

Free Download: Our 3-step process for setting boundaries. 

Make time for yourself in your calendar

When your calendar is open, it is an invitation to book last-minute meetings or have colleagues stop by as they see an opening. Schedule in your calendar some time for yourself. If you block it out, you are more likely to treat it as an appointment with yourself.

Learn to slow down and take a break

More hours worked does not always equate to the highest quality work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, it may be best to call it a day and allow your brain to rest up to enhance future productivity. With many working from home for over two years now, you may have experienced the blurred lines between working and living at home. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average workday lengthened by nearly half an hour in 2020. 

Taking regular breaks increases productivity, motivation and supports stress management. Know your internal signs when a break is needed. Do you have eye strain or back pain from sitting at a computer all day? Maybe you’re feeling restless and agitated? Listen to your body and put your mental health first - it will benefit you and your workplace in the long run.

What change will you make in 2022 to work smarter?  

Our refreshed and top-rated Vision Board course is back for 2022. It’s a step-by-step course to help reset your year.

We combine the science of visualisation, meditation and expert guests to guide you through finding your purpose, creating your vision board and breaking limiting beliefs to help you achieve your goals.

Sign up for it today here. 


Chelsea Pottenger is a leading authority on mental health. An International Motivational Speaker and Accredited Mindfulness & Meditation coach, Chelsea has worked with many of the world’s leading brands such as eBay, Google, Telstra, CBA and Macquarie Bank to improve team wellbeing. Chelsea combines science and personal stories to share practical tools for your team to build a positive, high performance mindset.