Putting in 40 hours a week at work is the norm but for so many, that’s the bare minimum. 50+ hours in the office per week is becoming not only more and more common but expected. Many of us have the mentality that the more hours we work, the more we get done. But that’s not always true.
Many people don’t consider the effects of burnout and fatigue when thinking about productivity. But it’s a real issue and it’s something a cup of coffee can’t cure. Working more doesn’t mean you’re being more productive. And there’s actually proof behind it. Recently, John Pencavel of Stanford University did a study on this exact topic. One interesting point he discovered was that productivity drops off significantly at 50 hours of work a week and exponentially after that. So do you just work less to counteract this so-called burnout? No but you do need to be more cognizant of what you do with your time in order to be more productive. Here’s 5 tips to help you find some more balance with work:
Disconnect & unplug
While you may think being connected 24/7 will make you more productive, it can actually do you more harm than good. For the vast majority of your emails, you don’t need to respond immediately. When you check them constantly, you’re just wasting time. You’re also throwing away a great opportunity to just unwind and relax. Don’t be a slave to your phone and email. Disconnect and unplug in the evenings and on the weekends. You also want to set reasonable expectations. If you respond at all hours, people will contact you at all hours.
Delegate what you can
You can’t do everything yourself. That’s why you delegate what you can. The most successful people usually don’t do the bulk of the work themselves. They analyze, assess and then delegate. It’s important to find good and reliable help so that you can feel comfortable handing tasks over to others. Even though it can cost you more, your time is much, much more valuable.
Cut down on meetings
Meetings can take up the entire day. But are they really that important? Most of the time, no. If you’ve even gone into a meeting just to talk about having another meeting, you know exactly how frustrating that can be. Cut down on unnecessary meetings. Most communication can be done over the phone or through email. If you must have a meeting, make sure there is a concise agenda so that everyone knows exactly what needs to get done.
Pursue your passion
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. It’s true. You can spend all the time in the world at work but if you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s difficult to be happy and find purpose. You don’t necessarily have to be passionate about your job. But it is important to make time for something you’re passionate about, whether during work or after. Cut down on your working hours so that you can spend time on yourself doing something you’ll enjoy. These moments will make a drastic impact on everything in your life, both personal and career.