Nearly everyone feels crunched for time. Hundreds of studies have showed that employees tend to spend less than 15% of their workdays in focused, productive work. Responding to problems of the day, firefighting, managing employees, and completing paperwork can take up much of a workday, resulting in long hours, fatigue, and even burnout.
Here are ideas to consider to work just 40 hours per week and still get everything done.
- Do not start your day without a plan. In an aimless day you tend to react to the first fire that needs to be addressed. Take a few minutes every morning to prioritize your tasks and take a proactive approach to your time.
- The majority of us tend to be most productive in the mornings. Therefore, resist the temptation to check email first thing in the morning. Indeed, get no less than one thing done first in the morning – THEN check your email.
- Before starting your workday, thoughtfully choose your most important task of your day. With hundreds of things to do each day, perhaps you have 1 or 2 that are top priority. Focus on these. Make sure you work on the most important tasks.
- Document your time. Make a log of how you tend to spend your hours each day. Log how much time you tend to spend on various tasks and responsibilities. After a few days or even hours of doing this, you will realize where you tend to misuse time . This will help you take corrective actions.
- Delegate relentlessly. Hire help. Know your strengths and weaknesses. You cannot do it all. Get clever about what you are good at and things that only you can do. Delegate the rest.
- Automate monotonous tasks. Determine how much time you devote to routine tasks and try to group or automate them. You could use automation tools, scripts, and various software to get things done on your computer. At home, hire someone for everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, home maintenance, moving the lawn, etc.
- Avoid heavy multitasking. Hundreds of studies have shown that that multitaskers are less competent at doing several things at once than light multitaskers. Specifically, the more you multitask, the worse you are at it.
- Get organized. Do not work in a mess. A disorganized office and work environment creates both physical and mental clutter and distracts you from focusing on getting things done. A clear workspace helps find things, fosters clarity in thought, and helps you get more productive.