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The Time Robbers - How to NOT work 70 hours a week

While some industries are notorious for valuing employees by the number of hours they clock, the +50 hours/week is a malady almost everywhere.

And it costs - damaged family life, stress, fatigue, not to mention diminished productivity.

The good news is that unless one chooses to work many hours to avoid having to deal with things they prefer not to deal with (in which case professional support is advisable), there is a solution.

The modern workplace is enslaved to Time-Robbers - emails, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok - whatever your phone is setup to alert you to. On average, each phone user gets ca. 80 push notifications and 120 emails a day. That’s 200 times a day that you are distracted.

Research shows it takes the brain 25 minutes(!) to fully refocus after a disruption so this Facebook post you just looked at for 15 seconds robbed you of 25 minutes and 15 seconds of your day.

Since there aren’t 5000 minutes (more than 83 hours…) in a day the result is that you are never fully focused, therefore your work is never at its best and you have to work longer to achieve the same results.

Luckily there are simple steps you can take:

  1. DISABLE all the alerts on your phone. Unless you work in an A&E no one is going to die if you don’t read tweets every time they pop up.

  2. SET TIMES in your diary for activities. You already do this for meetings so why not do the same for responding to emails, looking at social media, returning phone calls, etc.? This way you will ensure being on top of everything online without paying the disruption price.

  3. LUMP-UP activities. When you answer emails, don’t look at Facebook; when you read tweets don’t answer the phone; etc. Every activity has its own rhythm and you don’t want to disrupt it.

  4. PRIORITISE tasks. Not all duties were born equal so assign a priority to each task. Do the Urgent today, the Important this week, and the Whenever, well, whenever.

  5. PLAN for tomorrow. End each day by planning the next day. This way you will not only make sure you don’t forget anything but will also go home more relaxed.

It takes time and discipline to apply all this but it’s worth it - people who have taken these simple steps are reporting being significantly more effective, having lower stress levels, and working shorter days.

Try it today. There is nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

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