How to work less and get more done
By TRISOFT team
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” — William Penn
Here’s a thought: we are living in an addicted society. Either it’s cigarettes, alcohol, food, use of social media, binging on TV shows, shopping, even sports or other beneficial activities, we have a tendency to over do things. The same goes with work. Many of us work like maniacs. We want to have more responsibilities, be hyper-productive, and get everything done, and if possible, we want to do it all…. yesterday.
But is that the only path to success? Or are there ways to reach your goals without sacrificing your personal time?
Smarter vs harder
There are some people who have a skill to get things done without overtime hours, working on weekends or having work in the back of their minds all the time. But how do they manage to keep their spare time sacred? They work smarter instead of harder. And sometimes working smarter means working less. More work doesn’t necessarily help you get better results, and sometimes it can actually cut down on the amount you get accomplished.
However, working less and accomplish more ain’t easy. First, you have to spend some time meditating whether your methods are as efficient as you thought they were. Once you realise there could be new ways to reach your goals other that adding up on your to-do list, you can start testing them and see how they work for you.
Smart people know the importance of finding a life-work balance and they use their time wisely. Reaching this balance is easier said than done, so here are some things that will help you get there.
1. Spend “Me time” in the morning
Personal time is just as necessary to the health of your business as all your other commitments. Do you often find yourself putting your needs last and thinking that by doing so you will accomplish more? Well think again. We are at our best when we are in the right state of mind, relaxed, rested, energised. And in order to be all that, we have to prioritize our own needs.
You can start your day with taking the time to check in with yourself. Do a quick meditation, stretch, think about what you’ve accomplished the day before, the things you are grateful for, set up the tone for the rest of your day. You can start with 5–10 minutes each morning, if it’s hard finding the time in the beginning, and at some point, you will see that even an hour is doable — and also really beneficial.
2. Prepare your day (and week) in advance
Spend a few moments at the beginning of each working day planning it. Also plan a whole week in advance, each Monday, or if you’re not a Monday morning person, plan the next week ahead on Friday.
You will find that this helps with productivity and reduces stress, and the days feel more manageable when the focus is mainly on execution.
3. Work out your body and brain
Exercise keeps both your body and mind healthy. You can add this to your morning “me time” or you can do it whenever. Walk to work, go for a run, practice yoga, play basketball, take a zumba class. Anything that works for you. The possibilities are endless.
They say that engaging in any sort of physical activity for even 10 minutes releases GABA, a soothing neurotransmitter that reduces stress. Also, exercise is a great way to come up with new ideas. Exercising outdoors is even better, as it helps boost your creativity and leads to endorphin-fueled introspection. So go ahead, find a physical activity you enjoy and make it part of your weekly schedule.
The fear of missing out has glued us to our smart phones. Do you check yours first thing in the morning, even before getting out of bed? Sometimes we forget to unplug, we are just on automatic pilot and are starting the day thinking about what needs to be done, answering emails, checking the calendar and so on.
But even if it sounds counter-intuitive, starting the day working or thinking about work is not actually all that productive. Making yourself available to your work 24/7 is bringing you a lot of stress that makes it difficult for you to recharge and refocus. If you’re getting an email and it’s bad news, or it’s coming from an angry client, that can ruin the mood for the whole day and you’ll start on the wrong foot.
So…just don’t reach for the phone. Get up, spend some time with yourself, get in the right state of mind. This works very well on vacations too. They are for quality time with your loved ones, for recharging your batteries and resting. Some swear they’ve become even more productive and more creative after a full black out while on vacation.
5. Feed your spirit
Let’s say you do not eat or drink coffee for a day or two, how would you feel? You’d probably have less energy, enthusiasm and focus, right? The same goes with your spirit. It is vital to do what you love as often as possible. There are several things you could do:
- Pursue a passion: a great way to escape from stress and to open your mind to new thinking patterns. Creative things like writing, painting, dancing or even playing catch with your kids can help stimulate your mind.
- Spend quality time with your family or friends: this helps you recharge and relax. Go for a walk or a picnic, make a reservation to your favorite restaurant, visit your parents. It will bring you joy.
- Try going on micro-adventures: do something you haven’t done before, or something you haven’t done in a long time. Buy tickets to a festival or a concert, go on a road trip, plan a hike.
It’s amazing how knowing that you have something planned for the weekend or after work will improve your mood throughout the day. Having a clear mind helps you work efficiently, so this is why it’s important to enjoy your personal time, rather than letting it go to waste engaging in meaningless activities.
6. Find ways to give up control
Let’s be honest — most stress comes from a desire to control the outcome. We are all seeking control one way or the other, and some of us want to make sure we get all the credit when things go well. Leaders sometimes find it hard to give up control and delegate tasks, but this is essential to their own personal growth and their company’s.
So what you can do is learn when to step back and let others do the work. Embrace the fact that you cannot do it all yourself, and you definitely cannot be everywhere at once. You can of course try, but do you want to pay the price of burning yourself out?
“We had the experience, but missed the meaning.” — T.S.Eliot
Self-reflection is a powerful tool when it comes to improvement. It is the ability to look back, observe our actions and learn from them. We should not just be spectators to those experiences and miss the opportunities to grow.
So start by making some time to contemplate on your experiences — what you thought, felt and did, the lessons you’ve learned, and how you can apply them to your practice. By doing this, you’ll eventually start to see things in a new light and produce new models of thought and behavior. Moreover, reflecting on what you have done could teach you how to change your approach and do it more effectively next time around.
At the end of the day one thing you should keep in mind is that everyone’s first concern is the outcome. It actually does matter how much time you spend getting there. But don’t sweat it. Why not spend less time working by doing it smarter, and at the same time getting more results?
At TRISOFT, we encourage you to find a balance in everything you do in life. Invest your energy in meaningful activities, choose smart how you are spending your time, both in the office and at home. Notice when you’re not efficient despite your best efforts and, from time to time, take a short break from work — you might come up with a new perspective and also save some time for yourself.