Working Smart and Communicating Clearly

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working smart and communicating clearly

Working Smart and Communicating Clearly

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder.” If you want to achieve career success, you have to learn how to work smarter. This means understanding yourself and learning how to focus your energy. According to a recent study, 84% of millennials said they had experienced burnout at their current job. Burnout often happens because people don’t have the right systems in place to prevent it. Hard work is still required. Smart work will help you put your energy in the right place.

working smart and communicating clearlyOur CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn. She interviewed Paula Rizzo, founder, and CEO of List Producer, Inc.

They shared tips and personal stories about working smart and communicating clearly.


1.Working Smart

Working smart doesn’t mean you don’t put in hard work; instead, it means setting yourself up for success. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Paula and Jessica shared several strategies you can use to develop a more thoughtful way of working.

Consider the following:

  • Have A Plan – You need to have a plan to set yourself up for success. One way to do this is to make a list. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Paula talked about how making lists can help you work smarter. For example, make a list of the things you have the time and resources to do tomorrow. Organizing your thoughts and to-dos will keep you focused during the day so you aren’t left wondering what you should do next. The key is to create a list of things you can accomplish, not an unattainable list of things you wish you could get done. working smart and communicating clearly
  • Time Yourself – Have you ever considered how long it takes to accomplish a task? If not, you should start timing yourself to see. For example, how long does it take you to go through your emails every morning? Does it take you 15 minutes to get through all of these emails, or does it take you 5 minutes, and you procrastinate through the first 10 minutes? When you time yourself, you will have a different understanding of time and how much you can actually get done.
  • Be Intentional – If you want to work smart, you must be very intentional about your time. This means avoiding distractions and focusing on the task you need to get done. For example, one way to be intentional with your time is to be mindful of your actions. You can tell yourself, “I will not allow anything to distract me while I am working on my project.” You can put your computer in offline mode. You can also turn off all notifications on your phone. You can even leave your phone in another room. Being intentional may require you to think differently about your actions, but it will help you stay focused.

It takes learning about yourself and understanding time differently so you can approach your to-do list more strategically.



2. Deal With Distractions

Inevitably, distractions will come up. As much as you want to be intentional with your time, there will be a phone call, a knock on the door, or a co-worker who needs help. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica, and Paula talked about ways to successfully deal with distractions without letting them keep you from getting your work done.

Consider the following:

  • Distraction Placeholder – One way to keep yourself focused is to create a distraction placeholder. For example, let’s say you are right in the middle of writing a proposal when the doorbell rings. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Paula shared how when this happens, she has a space in her notebook where she can write down exactly what she was doing before she answers the door. This way, when she returns to her desk, she can look and see where she left off. When you return to your desk, you might often see 20 new emails, or a missed call. All of these things can distract you from finishing your proposal. When you have a distraction placeholder, you can immediately get back to finishing your work.
  • Set A Mantra – Your day might be filled with meetings, phone calls, and so much more. However, there may be things you absolutely need to get done. You can set a mantra for what you need to do to stay focused. For example, your mantra could be “Create my report.” You then need to say it out loud. You can say it out loud throughout the day until you’ve created your report. You are verbally reminding yourself of the most important thing you need to get done, and you are more likely to accomplish it by saying it out loud.
  • Break It Up – If you have an extensive to-do list or a big project you are working on, getting distracted can happen more easily. Because of this, you will want to break up your to-dos and give yourself time between tasks. For example, decide your top three priorities for the day. Take each priority and break it up into smaller pieces. Decide to give yourself a break after you’ve finished three of the five pieces. This way, your task list doesn’t feel overwhelming. You will be less likely to get distracted by giving yourself built-in breaks.

It can take up to 26 minutes to get back on track after you’ve been distracted. Learning how to deal with distractions will help you learn how to work smarter.


3. Clear Communication

Clear communication is critical for career success. Part of working smart is learning how to communicate your message so others can understand your intention. During the Souclast Media | LIVE, Jessica and Paula shared how they honed their communication skills and how you can use what they’ve learned and apply it to your careers.

Consider the following:

  • Understand Your Audience – When you think about your message, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is, who is your audience? You need to think about who is going to receive your message. What do they need to hear? For example, if you are speaking with your superior, they most likely do not need to know every single detail about your project. However, if you are speaking with your juniors, they may need to know all the details to perform their jobs. Always tailor your communications to what people care about because that is how you will earn their ears. working smart and communicating clearly
  • Give A Headline – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Paula talked about how she likes to give a headline and then “open the accordion” when appropriate. For example, if you are at a networking event, you probably have a quick 15-second elevator pitch describing what you do. If someone asks you a follow-up question after you’ve given your elevator pitch, you can “open the accordion” and provide a little more information. If you get asked another question, you can continue to “open the accordion.” The key is to ensure you aren’t giving all of the information at once. First, you give a headline and then give more details if needed.
  • Say It Out Loud -During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica, and Paula talked about how what you write doesn’t always translate well into verbal communications. You want your audience to be interested and engaged when you speak. Reading what you’ve written out loud can help you accomplish this. For example, when you read what you’ve written out loud, you will be able to notice if what you are saying is too complicated. Your audience might not understand if it takes a really long time to get to the point. When you read what you’ve written out loud, you can tighten things up and make your message much clearer.

People aren’t listening to everything you are saying, so you need to make an impact immediately with your communications. 

Working smart takes time. It may take a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t. The most important thing to remember is to find out what works best for you and move forward with that method.

Check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel if you want to see the full version of this Soulcast Media | LIVE conversation.


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