Work Less to Get More Done
Let’s be honest here. You may work a 40 hour week, you really don’t do 40 hours of work. And you know what, you shouldn’t!
Too many people conflate being busy with being productive. They think that if they spend every waking minute working they’ll get more done, that they’ll be more productive. That’s just not the case.
If you really want to get more done, then you need to work less. I know, it sounds counterintuitive but don’t take my word for it. Productivity experts, from across the globe, have come to the same conclusion. What’s more, many have found that constant work can be hugely counterproductive.
For example, Latvia’s Draugiem Group tracked the time and productivity of their employees. Not only did they find that their most productive employees didn’t work more hours than anybody else, they found they took more breaks. On average, the most productive ten per cent worked for 52 minutes and then took a 17-minute long break.
To put it in other terms, breaks took up a quarter of their work day-now that’s a lot of downtime. However, during those 52 minutes they worked with intense purpose and focus. They got things done, they were super-productive. For them, work’s a matter of short intense sprints with regular breaks, during which they can rest up and get ready for the next.
Conversely, those who don’t take regular breaks, and treat work more like a marathon, are often more tired, stressed and disorganised than their more well-rested colleagues. Also, most of us aren’t wired to focus on any given task for more than a couple hours (at most). Those who try to often lose focus and purpose, and the quality of their work suffers as a result. All in all, they put in much more effort and get the same or less reward.
So, if you really want to get more done, if you really want to be as productive as you can, take regular breaks. Even if you work in a high-pressure environment, like financial services, try and find some time to break up the day. Take a stretch outside, read a news article or listen to a few minutes of your favourite podcast. Do whatever you need to do to get that recharge because remember, work isn’t a marathon, it’s a series of short sprints.
Sometimes less is more.