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It Is Magically Possible To Work Less And Still Do More

It Is Magically Possible To Work Less And Still Do More

Working long hours is pretty common these days. If your Monday to Friday feels like a constant slog of work and projects with no real time for a breather, is this because you have too much work or is it because you’re not using your time efficiently?

It’s easy to spend too much time perfecting something or equally not focusing enough so you end up dragging the task out more than you should. So does working longer hours mean you’re being productive and getting lots done? The answer is most likely no. When you work consistently long hours or spend too much time on a task, it’s usually a sign that you actually just have too much to do. More importantly, it’s a sign you’re not spending your time, energy and attention wisely.

The Myth About Working More to Get More Done

Our lives are governed by the jobs, tasks and projects we set ourselves or set by our work environment. When you feel like the amount of stuff you need to get done gets bigger, our natural reaction is to work longer on them in order to get them completed.

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How many times have you heard someone tell you in an exasperated fashion that they spent 9am-9pm at the office working on something? Our reply is usually one of awe in terms of how hardworking they must be. But are they really? Productivity is heard to measure but if one person spent 2 hours on a task that someone else could have completed in half an hour, it’s more a case of having stretched out the task unnecessarily.

Working more to get more done only drains you of your energy both physically and mentally in the long run and potentially turns you into a ‘workaholic’. This leads to you not optimally producing the results you need and could end up with feelings of failure, demotivation and burnout.

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    What it Really Means to Work Long Hours

    While working long hours may seem the best way to get things done, in practice it means you actually have less time to recharge and refocus – two things that are vital for lessening stress and gaining more energy. When we have a lot to do, we often focus on the amount of time we invest in completing necessary tasks but instead we should be paying attention to how much energy and focus we’re investing.

      Time is quite the illusion when it comes to getting things done. The more time you spend on work, the more that the minute-by-minute urgency lessens. Yet when we have a limited amount of time, the more we’re forced to focus and use our energy optimally in order to get it done. Therefore, the more you control how much time you spend on a task, the more you can control the energy in an efficient way to get it done. An example of this could be those moments when you’d leave those college assignments to the last minute – that time limited pressure probably caused you to channel a larger amount of energy over a shorter period and so you got it done relatively much quicker than usual.

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      The problem that long hours brings, is that feeling of productivity. Obviously productivity is a good thing but as Chris Bailey explains in his book The Productivity Project, experiments he conducted lead him to find that he felt much more productive working long hours than in shorter bursts even though he was getting the same amount of work done.

      This only proves that busyness doesn’t always equal optimal productivity. In fact, productivity is an elusive idea. It’s hard to truly know how much we accomplish each day yet we tend to measure this according to how busy we were. However, it’s seldom accurate and can cause us to believe we’ve achieved more than we potentially could have given a more short and focused approach.

      The ‘Less is More’ Approach to Optimal Productivity

      First and foremost, when it comes to important tasks less is more! And by this I mean the amount of time you spend on getting the tasks done. When you do this, a few significant things will happen.

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      • Setting a deadline for yourself motivates you to expend more energy and focus in a shorter amount of time.
      • You create a needed urgency around the task.
      • You eliminate many of the procrastination triggers that can form over long periods. This is because you’re creating structure which helps stop the mind getting bored, frustrated and distracted.

      Ideally, you should try to become more mindful of your working patterns and level of productivity. As a start, take note of your habits and list what tasks you’ve fully completed in a day. Write done how much time it took you to complete each task and use it to reflect on why some tasks took longer than others. Is there a way you could have spent less time completing a task? How could you improve this?

      One helpful method for keeping note of the amount of time you spend on things, is a productivity tracking app. These automatically keep track of your time spent working on various tasks all on your desktop, laptop or mobile device.

      Setting deadline reminders for yourself is another way to keep yourself on track and motivate you to spend your energy wisely in shorter, more focused bursts.

      So remember to work smart not work hard. Using our minds optimally means shortening the periods of time we need to concentrate. Don’t get sucked in to believing all those long hours mean you’ve been extra productive. Instead start becoming more mindful of how to get things done quicker with equal efficiency. This will transform your life and free up more time for living.

      Featured photo credit: Lisa Fotios via pexels.com

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      Leon Ho

      Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

      What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually)

      What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually)

      It’s Monday again… The annoying alarm breaks the piece of silence you are enjoying. You keep pressing snooze and don’t want to leave your bed. As the hour hand points to 8, every muscle in your body feels sore.

      You arrive your office and turn on the computer at your seat. Everything seems so normal, except your mind wanders… you’re feeling bored at work…

      If this sounds familiar to you, chances are you feel bored at work, and you are probably here to look for ways to get rid of this dreadful situation.

      In this article, I’ll look into why you may feel bored at work, the little-known consequence of it and what to do when bored at work.

      The Real Reason Why You’re Bored at Work

      Boredom reveals the potential problems you have at work:

      Your interest and your work don’t match.

      It’s very common that our work doesn’t match our interest, but we might not realize it sometimes. It’s good for you to think about why you applied for this job and why you started your job at the first place:

      Because the salary was attractive? Or you had no other options but this job interview? Or you just wanted a new environment?

      If these are your major concerns, you need to reconsider your interests in this job.

      You’re not using your capabilities fully.

      Everyone has their strengths and talents. When your capabilities are not fully utilized at your job, you may find the assigned tasks not challenging at all.

      Worse still, you may start to question your value in your company and gradually lose motivation at work.

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      You have little opportunity for growth and learning.

      Imagine you do the same tasks for two weeks, or two months, or two years, over and over. How would you feel? I’m sure you’ll be bored to death.

      If your company doesn’t provide enough opportunities to grow and learn, and you can’t see any improvement, you will start to get disappointed and probably feel bored at your job.

      You have too much idle time.

      It’s important to take breaks at work. But when you are too free, it is a problem.

      When you have too much idle time, your mind wanders off to somewhere else:

      Thinking about where to eat, your relationship problems, or what your neighbor said this morning.

      Although your mind is occupied, these thoughts are generated because you are bored.

      You feel exhausted and tired.

      You have so many goals to achieve in life or things to manage beyond work. It’s easy to shift your attention and energy away from your work because you are too occupied with other parts of your life.

      While you pay less effort at work, the less motivated and interested you are in your job, which in turn bores you even more.

      You have no clear goal.

      People who have stayed in a position for a long time easily feel lost.

      You start to get confused with what you want to obtain from the job. You get used to your repeating daily routine and gradually lose your passion and interests in your job.

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      The Little-Known Consequences of Ignoring Your Boredom

      You might think it’s okay to deal with your boredom later, but the longer you put this problem on hold, the more consequences you will face.

      Don’t ignore your boredom, it might take a toll on you!

      Increased stress

      A number of readers of Stress Relief Workshop commented:[1]

      • Boring jobs can be really stressful.
      • Feeling like your skills are going to waste in your current job can be stressful.

      Developing bad habits

      Experts reckon people relieve their boredom by drinking alcohol, indulging in unhealthy food, or carrying out risky actions at work.

      When you leave your problem unsolved, you might find stimulation elsewhere to override your boredom.

      Poor mental health

      A study[2] shows an upsetting fact young adults or fresh graduates may develop depressions or black moods, because they:

      “find themselves having to do work that doesn’t stretch them and keep them fulfilled.”

      Low productivity

      Like I mentioned before, when you are bored and uninterested in what you do, your productivity drops drastically.

      6 Things to Do When You’re Bored at Work

      Boredom won’t go away unless you take actions.

      So how to cure boredom? Fortunately there are ways you can change the situation:

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      1. Tell your boss or supervisor about your working situation

      It’s always good for you to talk to your boss or supervisor if they welcome feedback. They should be the right people to talk to as they can understand and help you.

      You can request for more challenging tasks or work that fit your interests. This can not only get you out from boredom, your boss will also appreciate your willingness to improve and learn.

      2. Try to do more than you are expected to

      To use your ability and time fully, try to do more than what your boss requires. After you finish the repetitive or unchallenging tasks, spend some time to take on tasks that are beyond your responsibilities.

      As time goes by, your boss will notice and recognize your work ethic. You may get interesting tasks in the future to keep you going!

      3. Learn new skills when you are free

      If you have too much downtime, expand your knowledge and learn something new. A well-equipped person is always the gem in a boss’ eyes.

      For example, if you work in the design team but are not familiar with the use of design software, it’s a good chance for you to have some self-learning time.

      4. Know what you want from your job

      This is important — when you know your goal, it can motivate you to work!

      It’s fine to take some time to discover your goal and passion. But please remember to jot it down on a note and stick it on your desk as a reminder.

      You may also consider some career advice if you need help.

      5. Take breaks to fight exhaustion

      Taking rest is a preparatory step for a longer journey ahead. Don’t ever hesitate to take a break. You need it!

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      It’s crucial for you if you want to achieve more. Just get back to work when you feel ready. Don’t underestimate the power of a short break!

      6. Quit your job if it’s holding you back

      If you still find your work boring after trying every single method above, you should consider quitting your current job.

      Opportunities are everywhere, there may be a better job waiting for you.

      Make a change in your life and treat yourself better!

      Final Thoughts

      When you feel bored at work, it’s actually a warning sign you shouldn’t overlook. It could mean you’re missing a purpose in life.

      If you let this boredom continue, you’re putting your mental health and happiness at stake.

      Stop doing the same thing every day and let yourself feel bored. Start making a change to make yourself feel enthusiastic again about your career and your life.

      Featured photo credit: officevibe via officevibe.com

      Reference

      [1] Life Stress Balls: Stress at work
      [2] Sunday Post: Being bored at work is bad for your health

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