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This Is Why Working Less Is Better For You

This Is Why Working Less Is Better For You

“Working less will guarantee happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia.”- Bertrand Russell

Are you on 24/7, travelling all over the place, texting from your bed and putting in 80/90 hours a week? Is your work-life balance so skewed that the ‘life’ element is off the scale? If so, try to find time to read this post because maybe working less could save your life, company and family life.

It will take some time to get rid of the long hours culture but we are getting there. It is slowly dawning on the general masses that working less is not only much better for your health but will increase happiness in family life and will also be a boost for the economy. As far back as the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, was speculating that by the year 2030, a 15 hour working week would be perfectly feasible given technological advances. Still a long way to go.

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A motor company employee in South Korea recently wrote that it was impossible to work less than a twelve hour day: “Almost everybody working in this country is suffering from the same horrible thing every day for life. I want to get out of here. We want life.”

But is there any scientific evidence for this or is it all wishful thinking on the part of a minority who have seen the light?

Working less will cut sick leave.

Did you know that Greece has the longest working year in Europe? They put in 2,000 hours annually on average. Now if working longer means more productivity, then Greece should be leading the European economy but it is not! In fact German productivity is 70% higher than theirs even though their working year (1,400 hours) is much shorter. There may be other factors at work here. But Germany, Holland and Belgium are leading the way on shorter working hours. In fact, experts are now recommending that the 40 hour week should be reduced to 30 hours.

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The Gothenburg city council in Sweden is hoping to experiment with a project where they will split test two different departments. The first will work 30 hours a week (6 hour day) while the other one will do the normal 40 hour week. They hope to be able to show that the shorter working week will mean fewer sick days off and more productivity. They also expect employees on the shorter week to be in better mental and physical health.

Work smarter, not harder or longer

The key to all this of course to make better use of your time at work. This will reduce your stress levels and give you greater job satisfaction. There are various ways you can get things done in a shorter time and also allow us to have breaks so you are not overwhelmed by weariness. This will reduce your stress levels and give you greater job satisfaction. Try some of these, if they suit you:

  • Talk to your boss if you feel you are being given too many unreasonable challenges.
  • Ask your employer/encourage your employees about the possibilities regarding flexi time and how much of the work you can do at home. Not for everybody because the home environment may be chaotic!
  • Set yourself mini goals for doing important tasks. Set an alarm for regular breaks. These can be increased during the day as you get more tired.
  • Limit your to do list to the top priority jobs. Get these done in the morning when you are at your best. The motivational high will help you through the rest of the day because of having achieved those really demanding tasks.
  • Orient your goals to the tasks you have achieved rather than how long they took.
  • Keep a separate list of ‘done tasks’ to help your motivation and also see your progress. This works better than cancelling them off the to do list.Working less multiplies health benefits

Working less multiplies health benefits

There are lots of studies done on how your health, work-life balance improve and overall how your own productivity is boosted, when you work less.

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One study shows that being able to pursue a hobby, sport or other interest can actually boost creativity.  Employers should try to create a culture where wellness is encouraged as being an integral part of productivity.

One alarming article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that there is a direct correlation between domestic conflict and work burnout.

You can help the environment by working less. Shorter working weeks in 2008 in Utah helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 10,000 metric tons.

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The best news of all is that if you start saying ‘thank you’ to coworkers and employees, you can increase their productivity by up to 50%. This was the result of a study at the University of Pennsylvania.

Now before you rush off to that meeting, how about saying thank you to your staff for all their hard work and encourage them to take a break?

 

Featured photo credit: Exhausted/baratunde via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 23, 2020

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Most People Already Know Their Passion

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.

For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about[1].

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No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

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If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place[2].

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.

If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

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Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.

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If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time. 

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

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Featured photo credit: William Recinos via unsplash.com

Reference

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