Dear manager, “When was the last time you left for home on time?”

“Dear Diary,

Today, I left office 3 hours late again, and I just feel like dropping dead on the floor!”

I’m sure this is what the beginning of everyday entry must look like in the journal of every manager out there, if they keep one. What is it about working until late hours that managers can’t seem to get rid of? Even though, deep down they know that the practice is actually counterproductive; not to mention the toll it takes on physical and mental health. And the scenario is not just limited to managers, it applies to the entire generation of working professionals today!

Okay! Let’s not jump to any conclusion and write-off working until late hours as always counterproductive. Devoting a few extra hours actually adds to the output, but ‘only once-in-awhile’. But, If you make it a routine to spend 50–60 hours every week chasing deadlines, then you can be sure that you’re working more and achieving less.

And, even though a ton of research has been done on the subject to validate why working more than 40 hours a week is not really as productive as we make it out to be, I really think that no research is above our own personal experience. Everybody can tell from their experience just how productive they act after a point of time.

Tired of always leaving office late? Sign up for 30-day free trial period of ProofHub, the Saas-based project management software. The perfect fix for all your time management issues!

Here’s what you need to know about the 40-hours work paradigm -

When this concept got off the ground, the number 40 was the upper limit. But, with non-stop increase in consumerism, industrialization, globalization, not to mention the boom in information technology, that upper limit has now become the lower limit. Now it’s a standard practice to devote 40 hours a week at the very least. The upper limit can go as high as you can manage.

Result? We become more and more sluggish, lose focus, and the ability to innovate. And how do we compensate for that lost focus and decreased productivity? By spending more time working!

So, as you can see — we become part of this vicious cycle with no way to break free from it!

So, how to break free from this cycle?

The thing about being a manager is that you don’t do any work on your own. You get the work done. When you get work done, you are keeping eye on other people’s work. You have to assign work, monitor progress, see how things are moving along. When your job includes interacting with not just team members, but clients and senior management as well, it’s only natural that you need a system to organize the flow of information coming from multiple channels.

How, do you do that? The answer lies in using a project management software.

Most of the confusion at workplace arises when you’re stuck asking questions. Questions like — why is this not done yet? Who’s taking care of it? Who made that decision? Does everyone know what was discussed in the meeting? Is everyone keeping up with the follow-up plan? The questions can go on and on. Finding answers to these questions can eat-up a lot of your time!

When you have a system that can answer all these questions for you, without having to scratch your head or juggling with countless reports, confusions and chaos will be totally out of the picture.

When you have less questions hovering over your mind slowly draining you off of your focus and energy, it’s only natural that you can use your hours doing exactly what you should be doing — managing things. Which is what the job description of a manager is.

Automating things

If there’s an easy way to do something, why would you want to do it any other way? Out of the two ways, we will always gravitate towards the easier one. If you, as a manager, have the opportunity to automate much of your work via a software, wouldn’t you want to do it?

A project management software does that job. It automates a lot of things. Have a meeting scheduled at a future date? Why bother remembering it when the software can do that job for you by sending you reminders?

Want to track progress? Why spend hours crunching numbers and sifting through reports when the software can just process the information and show the progress to you?

The more things you can put on automation, more the number of hours you can save from the day.

Once you get into the habit of using project management software like ProofHub, you will observe that you don’t need more hours in a day. You just need a way to make the most of those hours. And, that’s what smart work philosophy is all about!


Originally published at www.linkedin.com.