Many equate more productivity with longer working time. Perhaps, this may be true in some instances but did you know you can actually reverse this equation? Here are some tricks to help you achieve this:
- Focus on your goal, not on the time. By aiming on your goal gives you an overview of the entire job. Once this is clear to you, it will be easier for you to allocate the time you will actually need to complete the task. You can schedule your time and choose the appropriate system to use, either to lessen your per day working hours or decrease the days to do it.
- Decide how much hours you want spend working. If you feel working the usual 8-hour day is too much for you (and it is), decide how long you are happy to work. “Happy” is the key word because you can slash the time to half but you may feel pressured to do so much in too little time. This robs you the pleasure of being productive at the expense of shorter working time. You may opt for 6 or 4 hours working per day or decide to cut on the working days per week instead. Anyway, whatever seems ideal to you, go for it!
- Make gradual adjustments. Shifting from your usual working hours to a much shortened schedule should be done gradually. An abrupt shift can disrupt operation and may cause confusion and wastage of time. Do the adjustment by stages. If you decide to shorten your working time by 4 hours per day or 4 days per week, adjust your schedule an hour or a day less for a few days. Once you get the hang of it, deduct another hour/day until you achieve your ideal 4 hours per day or 4 days in a week work schedule.
- Assess your workload. By cutting your usual working hours, you may either work faster or work less. However, working faster may actually defeat your purpose to be productive in less time because working hurriedly can result to more mistakes. Correcting these may even take you more time, thus ending up where you began— working 8 hours or more. Therefore, working less is your better option. To achieve this, you have to be selective on the tasks you can work on efficiently within a limited time. Learn to prioritize your job based on their importance. Tasks that can be eliminated altogether without sacrificing your goal should be done away with.
- Classify and batch your tasks. You can do routine job that you do on a daily basis every other day instead of daily. These may include attending to non-urgent communications, updating your website, following up orders, etc. Concentrate on other tasks in-between those days such as meeting with clients, product developments, training personnel, etc. Classifying and batching your tasks are effective ways to minimize your working hours on a daily basis.
- Define your purpose. So you have achieved the 4-hour a day or 4-day per week work schedule, what then? Decreasing your working time without a definite purpose for doing so is useless and counter-productive if the time or days you saved are left idle. Fill these saved time by either expanding your business by seeking new or additional sources of revenue; or undergoing training to improve your skills; or spending more time with your family. You may also engage in your favourite sport or hobby you never had time to do before.
These tricks will help you work smart by producing more and better results in lesser amount of time. However, make sure you use the time you saved judiciously or all that you’ve done is an exercise in futility.
For additional information on how to this effectively, you may read Erlen Bakke’s bestseller “You Will Never Work Again”.