Have you already heard about the expression “work smarter, not harder“? What does it mean exactly?

When your email box is crammed, there’s a giant stack of documents on your desk and the phone keeps ringing, how do you suppose you’re able to get everything done smarter?

The truth is that many of the methods we commonly use to do things are not really productive.

When you focus too much on doing rather than planning, you might find yourself spinning the wheels with a bunch of activities that are not really heading you towards the result. This means a lot of time wasted on things that did not really deserve your attention … yet, all of this could be managed more efficiently.

As Tai Lopez says: “We all have 24 hours a day, but the difference between ordinary and extraordinary success lies in how we use those hours.

Here are 5 simple tips that could help you work smarter in the days ahead, while earning more time.

1. Structure

The most prosperous entrepreneur is the one who knows that having a business structure creates a successful routine. If you are running around, willy-nilly, to extinguish fires by trampling them, instead of planning the future of your business, you could risk to burn yourself and take a step back.

The key to an effective day’s work is working with structure.

Wake up at the same time from Monday to Friday and “sculpt” your routine. For example: wake up, exercise, have breakfast, respond to emails, make phone calls, devote yourself to the actual planning and then work, check your emails again, pick up the phone and finally close your workday.

When you break your structure and start answering emails and phone calls all day and all night, you are actually wasting a lot of time. Having a structure allows you to prioritize your day. Informing your staff and your customers when they can have your full attention will also help you find time for family, friends and yourself. The structure makes you a smart entrepreneur.

2. Abandon the Myth of Multitasking

Perhaps in a few of the most talented moms in the world there is something that could be called multitasking. But, for the rest of us poor mortals, it’s a wise decision to abandon the myth of multitasking and be more effective.

The brain is not made for carrying out well two tasks at the same time. Focus on speaking, writing, working or thinking, but do not try to do more than one thing at the same time. You would end up wasting more time correcting your words or rewriting your mail. Your brain loses its effectiveness every time it jumps from one task to another. Focus on one thing at a time, complete it entirely, and then move on to something else. This will help you gain much more time on the long distance.

3. Urgent Does Not Necessarily Mean Important

Part of being an entrepreneur means exercising a solid capacity for judgment. You must know the model of your business and your products. You must believe your judgment in hiring salespeople and employees. Apply the same judgment in differentiating between the tasks that are presented to you daily, what is urgent from what is important. Part of the brilliance of working with structure is that, in many ways, it manages to eliminate the problem of distinguishing between urgent and important.

If you check your emails or answer phone calls in the scheduled time slots in your structured routine, you will bring your employees and your customers to clear up with their own problems.

Have the judgment and the discipline to get out of the easy habit of thinking that every urgent thing is important – it does not. Learning to let go of the urgent will save you an incredible amount of time and stress, so you can work smarter and focus on what is really important.

4. Switch It Off

Smartphones and wifi are great things. It is easy to take them for granted now, because they have become part of our lives, but it was not like that until just over ten years ago. Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Richard Branson still managed to build billions of dollar empires using the traditional phone lines.

All this connectivity represents convenience at its best, but it can also be devastating for your workflow. To work smart, you have to find a time in the day when the instant message option is off, email notifications are blocked and the phone is on silent mode. All these pings, bells and vibrating distractions drag your brain out of its creative process.

Only you have the power to turn off all distractions and focus on blocks of time dedicated exclusively to work, the creative process and your business.

5. Take Many Breaks

How can you take many breaks and still manage to get it done? Easy! It is all related to the structure again. When you plan in your day to take breaks between one task and another, you are directing yourself to success.

When you continue working with the same intensity you end up burning a lot of time. If instead you define moments for a short walk, a meal or any other small block of time to reset your brain and restore your body, you will have the energy and mental capacity you need to keep working hard all day.

Do not feel guilty to move from your work space every 2 hours for water, a snack or a few turns of the block.

Keeping your body fed and young will allow you to work smart for a long time.