Want to be successful at work? Want to sleep 8 hours a night? Want to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Having all of the above might seem like a fever dream but it’s actually possible by working less hours. Yes, you read that correctly. The key to success (and a happier life) lies in working less hours.
In fact, according to research, working less than 50 hours per week puts you in your productivity sweet spot. By simply learning to streamline your productivity process and improve your time management, it is possible to excel in the workplace while working 50 hours or less per week.
We’ve all heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder” and it probably goes without saying that applying this phrase to your life can help you be more productive. But working smarter can also open the door to more sleep, a healthier lifestyle and success in your business, all while working less hours and decreasing your stress.
If you’re a seasoned workaholic, cutting back your hours might seem like an impossible task. Indeed, implementing a more reasonable work schedule won’t just happen overnight. It’s a process, one that you can start right now by following the steps below.
Observe Your Work Habits
They say knowledge is power and you can’t improve your time management without knowing the areas in which you need to improve. Take some time to seriously observe your own habits and behavior during the work day. Identify the areas where your productivity can most improve and brainstorm how to overcome the obstacles that are hindering your efficiency.
Re-Think Your Time Management
Once you’ve identified your problem areas, ask yourself, “How can I use my time more wisely?” If you find your focus constant derailed by meetings and interruptions, get in the habit of scheduling off blocks of time during your day to devote to uninterrupted, deep-focus work.
If you’re frequently getting distracted by email alerts and IMs, turn off notifications when you really need to be productive. By troubleshooting your productivity problem areas, you can be more efficient at work and free up hours in your work week to do the things you love. .
Listen to the Experts
Research shows that employee output decreases dramatically when the work week gets longer that 50 hours, and virtually plummets once employees reach the 55 hours per week mark. As John Pencavel at Stanford University discovered, someone who puts in 70 hours of work a week produces virtually nothing with the extra 15 hours of work.
We are really only able to get 10 hours of productive work in per day, so why push yourself to work more than that if you’re not going to produce good work? Instead, learn to work smarter which will, in turn, allow you to work less.
Think of What You Could Be Missing Out On
If you’re having trouble cutting back your hours, to help with the adjustment, think of all the things you could gain from a better work-life balance. Think about the quality time you could be spending with your family and friends; think of the time you could put into maintaining good health instead of sacrificing your health for your job. Think about how great it would feel to come into work feeling chipper after a restful eight hours of sleep rather than the usual four. Working yourself to exhaustion means you’re less productive when you are working and unable to enjoy your time outside of work when you finally do stop.
Learn to Let Go
Cutting down your hours requires more than just re-working your schedule and maximizing your efficiency; it also requires letting go of feeling like the only way to be successful is to run yourself into the ground. Let go of the guilt and give yourself the freedom to live a healthier life that will keep you happy and healthy both in and out of the office.
More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to work hours. If you’re running yourself ragged with your work schedule, you’re probably not functioning at your most productive and efficient. By cutting back your hours and making the hours you are at work count, you can live a happy, healthy personal life without having to sacrifice your work performance.
For more tips on how to increase productivity and achieve the optimal work-life balance, check out the following blog posts: