4 Tricks To Work Less Hours…Get More Done
Right now we’re working longer hours, getting less sleep, less recreation, and still getting LESS DONE
Americans are working longer hours than ever and yet productivity during those hours has not increased. In fact, most studies show that it has decreased. This is a bad direction since work hours are displacing time spent resting, being with family, or being with friends. In short, people are feeling less connected and more stressed out from unproductive work. The answer lies in taking charge of the way our day proceeds. The problem is most likely found in the way that we work; and we can control that.
Never Work “Off List”
When we create work check lists for the day, we have to face certain facts. We suddenly can see that we can’t finish the entire list today and we must make certain decisions about what is most critical. We can use a priority scale that separates the list by importance (A,B,C) and then sequences those categories (A1, A2, A3). Until you face the reality of your list, you are always in danger of spinning your wheels doing something less important than you should be doing at any particular moment of the day.
Speaking from the land of extreme ADD….wait, what was I saying. Anyway, I was teaching a seminar about Tai Chi and medication to a group of office workers. I told them that multi-tasking is impossible since you can literally only do one thing at any one time. The manager who had invited me literally asked me to stop the seminar and talk about something else since they wanted everybody to multi-task at the office. Great article, important topic.
Win the war with strategy
In the first part of the day, spend your energy doing creative work, if it matches the priority list you’ve created. There will be many other tasks that are more attractive Maybe they are easier, more repetitive or even kind of fun. You must avoid those types of activities when you first arrive at your office or work space. If you start with those types of tasks, then you could end up spending the bulk of the day on these menial avoidances. Tackle creative or challenging things first. The confidence and relief from conquering these tasks will build your momentum throughout the day. These are the days that make you say’ Wow I got a lot done today” as you power your computer down and go home.
Avoid email until a task is complete
Your email is the single greatest source of distraction if you work at your computer. It is an open door to your head, allowing anybody and everybody to trump more important priorities. These emails often are pleasurable distractions disguised as “fires that need to be put out”. Discipline yourself to only check email when you completely finish tasks. If you want a day for the productivity record books, then go for a couple hours without email.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you don’t have a plan for how to deal with your distractibility then you will just follow the same path you do every other day. You will run to the shiniest light, answer the complaint emails, switch browser windows constantly and when you realize you are getting nothing done, you will wander over to facebook or some other social platform since your day is already wasted.