Most people think of work as an all day affair. That is what we are programmed to think and what most people do. They go to work in the morning, work all day and come home in the evening. The question you have to ask yourself is how much of that work day is actually spent doing real work? So many people I know complain at how boring their jobs are and how they sit on Facebook all day so I assume most people who work 8 hours a day or not “working” for that full 8 hours.
I happen to be lucky enough that I can pretty much set my own schedule and work when I want, but at the end of the day work needs to get done. For years my work day would last all day and sometimes it seemed like there was not enough hours in the day to get my work done! Working like this is one not productive and two can really stress you out! I know this because I have burnt out many times over the years.
Last month when I went to Hilton Head for a week I was able to get all my work done in 2 hours. How is this possible? I was just as surprised as you that I was able to do this! After coming back I examined how I did it and have come up with the pretty solid set of rules on how you can achieve the same thing no matter where you are or what your job is.
Make a to-do List
Planning should be a very important part of your work day. The night before each work day make your to-do list for the next day. This way you don’t have to waste the time making a list in the morning when you wake up or when you get to work. When making a to-do list it should include the most critical work items, it should not be longer than 10 items. It is it longer than that you are adding non-important tasks.
Complete the Most Critical and Hardest Thing on your to-do List
Take a look at the to-do list you have made. Identify the most critical item on that list. 9 times of 10 it is also the hardest thing to do on that list. Make sure that task is the first thing you complete on your to-do list. I have always been a procrastinator, but once I had that hard task out of the way all of the other tasks for the day seemed trivial compared to it. It is extremely important that you do this, because if you leave the last thing to the end of the day your quality of work towards that task is not going to be as good…believe me I know.
One of the biggest things that can kill your productivity are distractions. You know that hour long phone call that you knew you shouldn’t have answered, that YouTube video someone just sent your and of course Facebook. I could go on and on about how you can eliminate these distractions, but that is an entire post in itself. The biggest thing is close off those distractions. Do NOT have Facebook or Twitter open all day. Check e-mail twice a day and that is it! Put your phone in the other room, turn it on silent or turn it off completely. With all of these things you are not going to miss anything believe me, they are just distractions to your work. And once you are done with your work you can catch up on Facebook and Twitter and check your phone for missed calls or messages.
Have Something to Work Towards
When I was on vacation my biggest motivation to get my work done was that after I was done with work I could go hang out on the beach, explore the island or go on some other type of adventure. Obviously most of us do not have that luxury, but we can still look forward to many things once we are done with our work. You could see some of the fun things that there are to do in your area and actually go do them, set a night each week to go out with friends, or join a fitness class. There are many different options, but having something to look forward to after work definitely helps you get your work done as quick as possible.
This set of 4 rules should really help you cut down the hours you are actually working, maybe not to 2 hours, but I know that using this system I have been able to basically cut my work day in half and many days down to 2 hours! There are many other things you can do to really cut your work down like outsourcing, but that is for another post. Imagine what you could accomplish if you were able to cut the hours you are working in half! Try this system and I am sure you will have success!
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