Developing Your Career

How to Get More Work Done, and In Less Time

By Greg Simpson on September 18, 2012

Most goals worth achieving take hard work, long hours, perseverance and dedication.  But it is important to balance the desire to “get things done” with the need for leisure and fun.  Are you finding your work encroaching more and more on your personal time?  Are you driven by guilt? Are you playing catch up from the previous week or trying to get a jump start on the next week? Or are you motivated by competition and the fear that accompanies it in a tough job market? Or is there just too much work to get done in a regular eight-hour business day?

Regardless of the motivations, working longer hours doesn’t always translate into higher levels of productivity or improved performance. In her Bloomberg Businessweek article, Why We Work on the Weekend, Claire Suddath examines America’s obsession with staying connected to work 24/7 and the impact on our health and careers.

But if you want to get more work done, and do it in less time, here are some tips that will help, and hopefully get you closer to achieving a better balance:

  • Identify critical tasks. Know what’s important and avoid spending time on tasks that aren’t top priorities.
  • Don’t let email dictate your schedule. Instead, mute your email alert and respond to messages at scheduled times during your day.
  • Avoid getting pulled into office gossip. It’s distracting, negative and saps energy.
  • Don’t use social media sites as a way to avoid the task at hand. Allow yourself a scheduled time during the day to check status updates on LinkedIn.
  • Keep your work space organized. Create a system that works for you so you’re not wasting time searching for something that’s been misplaced.
  • Map out your next day before you leave work. Write out your top priorities and set realistic deadlines. We’re more likely to achieve our goals when they’re committed to paper.

And invest in yourself. Take some time at the end of your day to completely unplug, allow for some unstructured time to recharge.

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