paint-brush
Work Better Hours, Not More Hoursby@dineshbob10
2,158 reads
2,158 reads

Work Better Hours, Not More Hours

by BobFebruary 11th, 2017
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Jack starts working at 10 a.m. He checks mail after 15 minutes and continues his work. After another few minutes, he replies to a WhatsApp message. Then he checks a Facebook notification. Next, his friend Jill passes by and they chat for some time. And this work cycle — start work, stop work, start work, stop work — repeats every few minutes.

Companies Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail

Coin Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
featured image - Work Better Hours, Not More Hours
Bob HackerNoon profile picture

Photo Credit: 1freewallpapers.com

How to get more done in less time

The work pattern of a normal guy, Jack

Jack starts working at 10 a.m. He checks mail after 15 minutes and continues his work. After another few minutes, he replies to a WhatsApp message. Then he checks a Facebook notification. Next, his friend Jill passes by and they chat for some time. And this work cycle — start work, stop work, start work, stop work — repeats every few minutes.

Because of these frequent interruptions, Jack could not complete his work even after 6 p.m. To get his tasks done, he works till midnight, sleeps under his desk and works even in that weekend. And so he cannot take Jill up the hill to fetch water that Sunday as he promised.

What do I mean by better hours?

These are the hours you focus only on the work you do without any interruptions. No checking mail. No Facebook notification. No small talks. You have to work 45 minutes to 1 hour without any interruptions. Then, repeat after 5 minutes break. Only 4 to 5 one-hour uninterrupted sessions would be enough for a normal day.

Why better hours?

To work effectively and efficiently, you have to get into the flow of the work. It is like going into a deep sleep in stages. Whenever you divert your attention to some interruption, you switch your focus from the current work to that interruption. Then when you get back to continue your work, you cannot continue from the same flow. You have to start over to get into the flow again, in stages.

How to get started?

  • Close your mail, Facebook, and all Instant messaging apps.
  • Turn off the mobile notifications.
  • Set a timer for an hour and work without any interruptions. I use the mac application Tomato One. Adjust the time as you prefer. 45 minutes to 1 hour would be preferable.
  • Take 5 minutes break after a one-hour session to stretch or walk. Don’t use these breaks to check emails. After 2 or 3 one-hour sessions, take a long break — 30 minutes.
  • Have a separate browser window only for work.
  • Try listening to the same song on repeat to increase your concentration and get into the flow (I do it all the time and as I’m writing this I’m listening to Closer in a loop).
  • When someone wants to talk to you when you are in the middle of a session, politely ask if you can have the conversation later in the day. (Either between the one-hour sessions or after the 4 one-hour sessions)
  • You can try and choose whatever methods work for you to get long stretches of alone time.

Self Appraisal

Review your past week work hours. If you feel you regularly burn the midnight oil and put extra hours in the weekend to complete your work, you might have to re-consider the way you work. The good news is you can change that anytime you decide as you are the CEO of your life.

From the book Rework by the founders of 37Signals,

Interruption is the enemy of productivity.

You can set up a rule at work that half the day is set aside for alone time. Or instead of casual Fridays, try no-talk Thursdays.

Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more. If all you do is work, you’re unlikely to have sound judgements. Your values and decisions making wind up skewed.

Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts in the comments.