It’s quite common these days to read success stories or social media posts about how someone worked 60-70 hours a week to be who they are today. Many who are part of the younger generation tend to study, work and indulge in a hobby every day.
The idea behind all this is to try to work harder than everyone else, which is positive on the surface but sometimes time spent doesn’t always translate into productivity. Time is very much a limited resource so how we allocate tasks and optimize our routines is crucial.
We can sometimes have a rather confusing picture about entrepreneurs. I am sure many successful ones we’ve come across say that they work their socks off while many others are also extremely happy that they work a lot less. Irrespective of whether you are a business owner or someone who is climbing the ranks, there are things you need to stop doing to achieve success quicker.
Here are 7 things you can stop doing now so you can start working smarter:
1. Working overtime
Ever wonder where the 9 to 5 came from? Whilst it’s true that that particular lifestyle isn’t for everyone its origins are pretty interesting. The 40 hour work week (9 to 5 over 5 days) was the result of a productivity experiment by Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, way back in 1926. He found that scaling back work hours tended to increase productivity.
Typically, its sleep that suffers when you need to work overtime. If you feel that you haven’t been as productive as you could this could be one of the underlying causes. A well-rested mind can be the source of positivity and will allow you to empathize with your surroundings better.
If you are one of the 70% that don’t get enough sleep try to organize your day so you never compromise and work overtime. In reality, there are some days where working extra is inevitable but try to make those days’ isolated events in the big picture. Keep yourself accountable and ensure you develop habits that foster positivity.
2. Scheduling a series of meetings
Try to not schedule many business meetings unless it’s absolutely essential. A sure fire way to lose productivity is to turn business meetings into high school group project meetups. We are often faced with a paradoxical situation where we try to use social media to socialize but end up interacting with devices more than people.
Having face to face meetings and lunches are undoubtedly beneficial but ensure that you stick to timings and not let it turn into a casual event during work hours. Look for solutions before opting to meet or have multiple solutions prepped so you can get straight into it. Use video conferencing tools like Facetime and Skype to your benefit instead of spending hours away from your desk.
3. Handling every aspect of the business
Aspiring entrepreneurs, this one is for you! Many of you who own a brand or a service might be trying to do too many tasks. When I started my first website, I often found myself running the social media accounts for it, writing content and answering support requests.
You can be fooled into thinking that no one can do a better job than you (like I was initially). This is certainly not the case and many people you work with can open your mind to possibilities you didn’t see coming.
Automation is another avenue you can look to explore. This works for repetitive tasks and other mechanisms which are more refined these days so take one eye off the day-to-day running of your work and setup these aids. Make sure you delegate the tasks that are repetitive and short-term so you have time to look at the big picture.
“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky
4. Compromising on health
The clock is ticking. You’re right on time to finish a task your said you will finish by 3pm, when you realize that if you skip lunch today you can get it done by 1:30. This scenario can sound all too familiar for many folks out there. Another would be trying to cram more into a work week than ideally possible.
While you can complete tasks this way, it’s a highly unsustainable lifestyle even in the short run. Compromising on meals or opting for cheap unhealthy alternatives to save time can really take a toll on your ability to focus and your energy levels. Make time to prep some meals and workout. In “The Millionaire Next Door”, Thomas Stanley and William Danko talk about how most millionaires spend at least 2 hours of their day exercising.
5. Giving too much importance to response time
Nope, we aren’t talking about the stat Facebook messenger throws at you when you try to chat to a business which goes something like “typically responds within an hour”. We are referring to things like emails and messages you receive on your phone or computer. You might agree with me when I say notifications can make you anxious.
A sure fire way to boost productivity is to turn off notifications or filter them so that only time sensitive issues are brought to your attention. It’s better to reply to people at a time that’s convenient for you and not for them.
6. Working without taking a step back
Stepping away from work and taking time to reflect on or recap everything you’ve done so far can be hugely beneficial. Instead of opting to go all out for your entire work session duration, schedule some time that’s not so focused on being productive.
It can be quite hard to form healthy relationships or have empathy towards other people when you’ve been glued to a computer screen for days straight. Use this time each day to interact, gain some ideas and focus your energy on whatever makes you happy in life.
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” – Alan Cohen
7. Going with the flow
This is almost a lifestyle choice each and every one of us has to make. Do we want to be proactive or reactive? It’s often the former that really shines during tough times. While winging it can help in some situations, practicing everything that you do repeatedly without being a perfectionist can help you deliver in the clutch moments.
Also make sure your preparation is thorough. Ask someone to play devil’s advocate on ideas you’ve come up with. This way you don’t over prepare or waste time focusing on issues that are highly unlikely to occur.
All-in all, these are just some of the things successful entrepreneurs have stopped doing to raise their game. Don’t fall into the trap where you are constantly adding things to your plate. Removing some can hold the key to success. The work environment is often fast paced so split testing or engaging people to help you stay accountable can help you weed out the unproductive elements and help you shine.
How do you stay productive throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!
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