Work smarter, not harder

December 1, 2020
  • Professional Well-Being
  • for the record
  • podcast
hand holding post-it note reading "work smart" with the word "hard" crossed out above a table holding a cup of coffee and a cactus

Strategic planning is a major theme at AACRAO. We advocate for institutional strategic planning, we offer classes and training in it, and we focus an entire conference around it. 

But what about strategic doing?

On an individual level, strategic doing is about being more deliberate with your time, improving your personal productivity and efficiency in order to make the most of your work time — which will help you be able to truly enjoy your leisure time. 

With so many members working from home, strategic time management may be the single most important skill any of us can hone right now. And in a recent episode of the AACRAO podcast For the Record, host Doug McKenna spoke with Heather Abbott, Deputy Registrar, Yale Law School, about her personal research into strategies for improving time management at work. 

“There isn’t only one way to work efficiently and productively,” McKenna said. “Each of us operates within a different work environment or culture, and each of us responds to different approaches differently.” 

McKenna recommends experimenting to find what works best for you, and letting go of productivity methods that aren’t working for you. 

In the episode, McKenna and Abbott talk tried-and-true strategies and technology tools, including:


Getting Things Done (via Toodledo)

Eisenhower Matrix (via Todoist)

Designing Your Life

Laura Vanderkam Before Breakfast podcast

Tools for Focusing:

Pomodoro method (via LifeHacker)

Strict Workflow


Building Habits:


The Power of Habit

The Checklist Manifesto


Swallow the frog

The Now Habit

Using Technology Thoughtfully:

Hurry Slowly podcast


Privacy Paradox

Honorable mentions:







Remember the Milk

Meanwhile episode on A people (give you energy) and B people (drain your energy)


The Sunday Meeting  and Zero Inbox via Kerry Ann Rockquemore

After action reviews via Mindtools  or Toggl 


Listen to their full conversation here. 


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