How to Work Less But More Efficiently

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how to work less but more efficiently

Our ancestors spent four hours a day at work. We can do the same.

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Man was not designed to work as much as we do now. As anthropologists have calculated, ancient hunters and gatherers spent about four hours a day searching for food, and the rest of the time was spent in idleness. Everything changed with the development of farming and cattle breeding: people began to work a lot and to the limit of their strength. Most people today don't have to sweat from dawn to dusk to get their bread, but this doesn't prevent many from sacrificing days off, regular sleep, and relationships to work. This post is about putting an end to that.

Why should we all stop working so much?

Chronic overwork causes depression, increases the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many others. And besides, workaholism doesn't help you get more work done. Studies show that a person's maximum limit is 55 hours of work per week. Although the problems start long before a person gets close to it: they become slow and inattentive. Another thing is the reduction of working hours. In the Japanese division of Microsoft conducted an experiment: for a month the work week was reduced to four days (the employees' salary was not cut). Productivity increased by 40%. If such drastic measures while you can not, it is worth reconsidering your approach to work. Here are a few tips to reorganize a hard day's work.

Audit your work duties

Take your plan for the week and analyze it: which of your tasks do you not have to do at all? There is a good chance that you will find meetings that you should no longer attend, correspondence that you may not participate in, and tasks that you can pass on to others. Surely there will be some not so pleasant things on the list that you can't delegate. To some extent you are able to change the attitude to them, but only if they make sense. Concentrate not on the process, but on the result: for example, that thanks to this action you will help other people or become more experienced and stronger. If there are a lot of emotionally difficult things to do, do not demand from yourself to do more than one of them a day—the remaining hours are worth spending on work that is easier to do.

Give up multitasking wherever possible

If the brain is constantly switching between tasks, it's harder for it to stay focused. The time it takes to complete tasks increases, and the probability of mistakes increases. To avoid this – try to narrow down the list of projects for which you are responsible, throw all your energy on a couple of the most promising ones. Steve Jobs called this the “no strategy”. He argued that if you don't spread yourself thin, your contribution to the common cause will be higher.

Make each work day thematic

That's what Twitter founder Jack Dorsey suggests we do. He dedicates each day strictly to one problem or topic: say, marketing or monetization. According to the entrepreneur, this allows him to dive deeper into them. A simple mechanism works: we work with great diligence and enthusiasm on things that have a clear and imminent deadline.

Use Parkinson's Law

It sounds like this: the work will take exactly the amount of time you set aside for it. Feel free to set a timer and experiment with the time: what if you set aside 20 minutes less for the task? That way you'll see how much faster you can really get, and you'll get a realistic sense of how much work you have to do.

Remember the key goals

Australian palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware wrote a book about her conversations with people who had only days to live. She carefully questioned them about the things they regretted. Almost no one had regrets about a dream they'd never had, or that they'd never jumped out of a parachute, for example. But a great number of her patients confessed that they had worked too much and therefore missed their children's childhood, not paying enough attention to their loved ones, even though they could have done otherwise.

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