It’s become the norm for professionals to work 60 or more hours a week … not ending the work day until late at night … and spending time on work during the weekends. On one hand, this may display an intense dedication to a company and the roles and responsibilities bestowed upon employees. But on the other, working that much might not allow many to be as productive as possible. Busy people in the office isn’t always a good thing. This may seem counterintuitive, but burnout and resentment are real things that can affect attitudes and working environments, according to professional lifestyle expert Geoffrey James.
Time management seminars are useful in this era of overworking, because they provide the opportunity for professionals to see that their current regimen isn’t working to their benefit. They will be better suited running their day with more structure and making an effort to make a 40-hour week work. This will not only help employees fulfill their responsibilities more effectively, but also manage their work-life balance better. Managers can benefit from emphasizing a 40-hour work week and thinking of ways to make this more possible.
Here are a few tips we’ve gathered over the years to help you busy people get started and hopefully get you home at a decent hour:
If your 40-hour week has edged closer to a 60- or 70-hour week, it’s time to review your efforts. How do you spend the majority of your time during your work day? If you find yourself wasting a significant amount of time managing your inbox or in meetings, it may be time for some restructuring.
Eat the frog first thing.
Humorist Mark Twain once said that if you eat a live frog first thing every morning, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst part of your day is over. It’s the same with projects. Do the biggest one first every day. Rearrange your schedule to ensure you hit the ground running every day by knocking out bigger projects as soon as you get to work. While it might seem like a challenge to take on harder tasks in the wee hours of the morning, you’re actually at peak performance earlier in the day. Save your less important tasks for the afternoon to make your day more manageable.
Bring the overworking problem into the open
Managers can communicate to employees that working more than 60 hours a week is not healthy and not productive. If they make the effort to point that out and outline the expectations for a proper work day, it will make workers more cognizant about how they should manage their time.
Create a schedule
Map out what a proper day should look like and allow employees to create schedules that best fit their work patterns. Allocating a specific amount of time for projects and designating certain parts of the day for meetings can create more structure and allow staff to better run their days.
Interruptions can be detrimental to the work day, because once a person is off-task, it is incredibly hard to make up for lost time. While it is important for managers and employees to be available for discussion and meetings, it’s time to eliminate unnecessary Internet use, phone calls and chatting with employees throughout the day.
While there will always be more work to do and it can be good to get ahead, it’s important to be honest with yourself about when it is time to power down and go home. It’s OK to say no instead of pushing on. Burnout can create a volatile atmosphere to work in.