Everyone has 24 hours in their day, but some people still get more done than others. Is this a result of some people just working harder than others or is there more to it than that? Most people still believe that working hard is the way to go, since logic will suggest that the person who works for 12 hours in a day will achieve more than someone who works for only 8 hours. Though the idea of working smarter, not harder is known to many, they default to working harder in the hopes of achieving more, because they don’t really know how to work smart. Successful entrepreneurs can get more done because they know maximum productivity can be achieved with a combination of effort and efficiency. However, working less to achieve more isn’t easy, it will demand that you think creatively to find more effective ways of doing things. Here are 6 realistic and doable methods of achieving more with less work.
- Don’t multitask: A lot of people believe that multitasking is the way to go. They think doing several things at once helps them achieve more in a given period of time. The proliferation of smartphones has fed this belief with giving people access to work-related tasks wherever they are. However, studies have shown that multitasking not only reduces productivity, but people who claim to be so good at it are actually the worst. The solution to this is deciding what needs to be done first at a certain point in time and focusing on completing that single task. When you delegate time properly, you achieve a lot more and work less.
- Know when you’re most productive: When you know the time at which you are more productive, you can then plan your day accordingly and tackle the most important tasks in that time frame. If you are a morning person, schedule those tasks that just require your attention and concentration the most to be done first. Same goes if you discover you’re a night owl. Don’t waste these periods of high productivity on trivial tasks or taking breaks, use them to get more done with less work.
- Use a sharp axe: Skill saves time. The quote “If i had an hour to fell a tree, I’ll spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe” comes to mind. Don’t spend time doing things you don’t care about being stellar in. Delegate such tasks to people who have well-refined skills for them. If you intend to master something, make it a priority to practice it daily until you’re better at it than you need to be. Then you can leverage your expertise to work less and still get more done.
- Measure output against energy and not time: This way of thinking makes you measure your results against the energy you put into each task as opposed to the time invested, because we accomplish more when we work intensely for a relatively short period of time as opposed to working for a whole day while tired and distracted. Two ways to accomplish this and work less are to work in short bursts – like a sprint with complete rests in between. The second way is to finish off projects that take a relatively short period of time – like a couple of hours in one sitting instead of spreading them out across different days.
- Let input <= output: This entertains the arguments for and against perfectionism and sloppiness. Sometimes it takes more time to fix badly done work than it takes to polish it to an acceptable level, and other time the reverse is the case. A perfectionist oftentimes takes too long to complete a task, or doesn’t finish outright, while a sloppy worker’s work will always need repairs. You can measure them both by finding out whether the extra effort and time put in exceeds the output to be gotten from the work. If the extra effort invested makes input greater than the output to be derived, you can stop working on such a task. If the amount of time spent making a completed task acceptable is less than the time it will take to fix a badly done job, then you will achieve more by quitting early. If it’s the other way around, then you can afford to slow down and take more care. This lets you judge both ways and achieve more, even though you work less
- Delegate: Make good use of your work team by delegating work that they can do satisfactorily to them. Part of the point of prioritizing is so that you can decide which tasks require your attention and then delegate the remaining tasks to the right people. Just be sure that you delegate tasks that are matched by the abilities of the recipient. Start small and when you’re confident enough in their abilities, delegate larger, more important jobs to them.