Work less to work better
In our culture, we’ve somehow acquired a warped view of what it means to be a hard worker. There is a general sense that it’s admirable to be the one who can work long hours week after week. We tell ourselves it’s a sacrifice well worth the rewards. But how can you really appreciate the rewards of all your hard work when you’re buried so deep?
Companies like Amazon are notorious for chewing up and spitting out their employees after only 2 years of commitment. There’s a sense of pride and competition when employees will boast having put in 80 hours each week. Maintaining this stamina is neither healthy nor sustainable, it’s also unproductive.
[Tweet “We’re only dealt 24 hours in a day so get savvy about how you use your time.”]
We can only work so much before the quality of our work begins to taper. Working long hours does not mean the level of work stays consistent, in fact it can lead to more mistakes and distractions which requires more work to resolve. Parkinson’s law says work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. If you give yourself less time to complete the task, you’ll work more efficiently.
Though our brains are powerful machines, we’re only capable of making so many decisions each day. The phenomenon of ego depletion is the idea that making any choice involves an energy cost. Though you may not feel the exhaustion of making decisions, your actions will show the results.
We each have our own rhythms of productivity. Finding when you work best is the key to working less. If you know you’re a morning person and that’s when you’re most focused then leave your most important work for the morning. If you’re a useless blob at 2pm, go for a walk or take a nap. Come back when you’re ready to focus because shuffling papers won’t make you feel any better.
Most importantly though, don’t fool yourself into thinking that because you’re working over 40 hours per week that you’re doing the best you can. Find ways to work less because downtime is just as important, if not more important, than your actual focused work.
We’re only dealt 24 hours in a day so get savvy about how you use your time. Outsource tedious time-sucks that steal your valuable mental energy so when you’re ready to work, you’re working at your best.