Career Woman

7 ways to do more by working less

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As with any addiction, being a workaholic is not healthy. Many people who work from dawn ‘til dusk feel they need all that time to accomplish everything on their to-do list, but did you know you can actually accomplish more with a healthy work-life balance? Here are some tips to find a healthy work-life balance and in turn, maximize your productivity.

1. Disconnect, relax, and reflect daily

According to the New York Times, taking the time to relax can actually help you get more done in the long-run. This can include activities like meditating, listening to music, reading a good book, or even enjoying an afternoon workout session.

The theory is that the more time you take to relax, the more energy you’ll have during your working hours, helping you get things done more efficiently. This is evidenced by studies that show that getting less than six hours of sleep per night was the biggest predictor of on-the-job burnout and that employees who take more vacations tend to receive higher performance ratings from supervisors.

Start by finding a comfortable place to relax, such as in a quality chair at your office or in a cozy furnished space at home. Set aside a specific time each day — whether that’s just 10 minutes on your lunch break or an hour before bed — to turn off your devices, take a deep breath, and reflect on your day. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Plan something fun for the weekend

A study from Stanford — as reported by Entrepreneur.com — showed that it doesn’t matter if you work 55 hours per week or 70 hours per week. You’ll get the same amount of work done either way.

What they found was that after 50 hours of working per week, productivity steadily declines per additional hour worked. Once you hit 55 hours of work per week, there’s not really any point in working anymore as you won’t accomplish much. You need the break so you can get back into things the following week.

Why not take that extra 15 hours you’re struggling with to do something fun? Plan a trip with the family. Go out with friends. Stay in and take a hot bubble bath. Plan a nature hike instead of a trip to the gym. Having something to look forward to makes the activity more pleasurable and can boost your mood leading up to the mini-adventure. Once you give yourself permission to relax and disconnect from work for a day or two, you’ll notice that you’ll be more productive the following week.

3. Do your chores during the week

One problem many people face when leaving their weekends free from work is that they begin to think of the weekend as their time to catch up on chores at home. The problem is that when you’re catching up with household duties on the weekend, you don’t really get the opportunity to relax.

Instead, schedule your household chores during the week like you would with any other work-related responsibilities. That way when the weekend hits, you get a chance to participate in activities you love rather than those that sound a bit dreadful.

4. Exercise

When you’re constantly at your computer or on your phone answering emails, you don’t have much time left over to get your body moving. However, exercise has numerous benefits that can impact your productivity, including:

  • It helps you sleep better
  • It reduces depression and anxiety
  • It sharpens your focus and creativity

That’s not to mention that exercise will benefit that “life” part of your work-life balance by keeping you healthy, strong, and energized.

Even if you don’t have time during the work week to exercise, remember that even a little exercise is better than none. You don’t have to make it into a chore, either. If the thought of hitting the gym makes you want to crawl back under the covers, explore alternative means of physical activity, such as swimming with the kids at the pool or going biking with a friend. When you make it into a social activity like this, you’ll find that your work-life balance begins to stabilize even more.

5. Pursue your passion

According to a Deloitte survey, fewer than 1 in 4 Americans are passionate about their jobs. If you’re in the unlucky majority, don’t let that discourage you from pursuing any sort of passion! Take a half hour every night indulging in something you love, such as reading, painting, writing, or playing with your kids. Otherwise, make time for your passions on the weekend. You’ll find that you’re in a better mood and become open to more creative ideas when you engage in activities you love.

6. Plan for the upcoming week

Facing your week with a solid plan will lead to higher rates of productivity and lower levels of stress. Trying to manage your schedule without thinking ahead can feel chaotic, but if you take just 15 or 30 minutes Sunday night to plan the week ahead, you can focus your energy on executing that plan. Be sure to schedule in time for your family and yourself between your work duties.

7. Set a sleep schedule

Sticking to a sleeping routine is one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your mood and energy as well as your productivity. Your body goes through a cycle each day that affects how energized or tired you feel. When you disrupt that rhythm, you become more groggy and tired. That’s why it’s best to go to sleep at the same time each night, wake up at the same time each morning, and avoid sleeping in on the weekends. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Working at all waking hours of the day may seem like a smart solution to getting more done, but eventually, you’re going to burn out, and those extra hours won’t pay off. Instead, start with these tips to get more done in less time by keeping your work-life balance in check.

 

About Hannah Tucker

Hannah Tucker is the mastermind behind product management at LinkedIn. Hannah has a (healthy) shoe obsession and resides in the beautiful and sunny San Diego. She has a fascination for ergonomics and its effect on workplace culture and productivity.

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