By Michael Gunther
We are a nation of workaholics. Thanks to our Smartphones and Tablets, we stay connected to work like never before — evenings, weekends, vacations, etc.
Actually, 73% of respondents in a recent survey stated that having a day off doesn’t mean not working. They are actually still responding to emails, logging up to 2-plus hours on their “day off” and feel compelled to do so to keep engaged with their employer.
Do all these additional hours actually make us more productive? Not at all. We are actually less productive, more stressed and burned out.
There is also hard evidence to suggest working over 50 hours a week can lead to a 67% increase in heart disease; a threefold increased likelihood to develop an alcohol-abuse problem; and a decrease in productivity due to the stress of working more.
These long workdays tend to also lead to less sleep. Getting 6 or less hours of sleep for a period of two weeks showed normal cognitive performance deficits equal to going entirely without sleep for three full days.
It is time to take a stand and figure out how to get your work responsibilities accomplished in less than 40 hours. I understand some weeks may require some additional hours, but consistently working extended hours is not a sign of being a hard worker.
Actually, it is a sign of not being a wise manager of your time. The old adage to “work smarter, not harder” is more appropriate than ever in the current work environment.
Here are some simple tactics to get your hours in check. First, evaluate how you spend your day at the office. Are you jumping from email, to telephone, to tasks on the never-ending hamster wheel of connectedness? Block-out time for specific tasks and stick to it.
Assess how much time you are spending on certain tasks. Are you spending more time on a low-level task that will have little impact on your business or are you spending the appropriate amount of time on your larger tasks?
I bet 20% of the tasks you are doing could wait or aren’t really that important in the overall scheme of things.
Manage the interruptions throughout the day. Every time you stop to chat with someone or someone pops their head into your office for a quick question, it takes time to reengage with what you were originally doing.
This time adds up. If you don’t believe me, begin to track how often you are interrupted in a day or over a week.
Keep yourself on a 40-hour, work week schedule. If you know you can’t work after hours or on the weekend and had to get everything in your 40 hours — would your work habits change?
“Work smarter, not harder” truly applies here. Take a few minutes each day to make sure you are set up to have the most productive day and practice some new time management habits.
This is another article in a series on Michael Gunther’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family and his belief in creating a growth company with a work-to-live mentality has influenced his career. To read the previous articles in this series, visit his blog at: www.Collaboration-llc.com.
Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration, LLC, a team of highly-skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education and consulting services. Learn more at: www.Collaboration-llc.com. Bottom Line is a regular feature of Simply Clear Marketing & Media.