Seven Top Tips For Working Fewer Hours

The majority of people I talk to will freely admit to working longer hours than they would like. So here are a few of my top tips to help you reduce them:

  1. Decide what time you plan to start and finish.  If you set the intention up front that you're going to finish at a certain time then you're more likely to achieve it.  It will also stop you working until a job is finished.  If you're honest, you probably only work at 60% efficiency.  Increase that to 80% and you'll be able to finish earlier.
  2. Set a time limit.  Most people let time run away with them and work on a job until it's finished.  It you only allow yourself 30 minutes, an hour, half a day ... you may find that you actually get it done and work more efficiently in the time.
  3. Don't over extend yourself.  Another common challenge is to set out with too much on your to-do list that you can't possibly hope to achieve in a day.  Be more realistic.
  4. Reduce your distractions and interruptions - think how many times you get distracted or interrupted in a day.  Phone calls, emails and people 'dropping in'.  If you limit all these distractions and interruptions, you'll easily save an hour a day.
  5. Take control.  Too often we're reacting to whatever or whoever shouts loudest rather than deciding what needs to be done next.  Improve your planning and prioritisation and you'll regain control of your time.
  6. Be selective about where and how you spend your time.  Busy people can often find themselves pulled in too many different directions at once and end up with too much on their plate.  Don't feel you have to say 'yes' to everything.
  7. Chunk your time.  Group similar tasks together and you'll reduce the chopping and changing that goes on when switching between different tasks.  Make a few phone calls all at one time; respond to several emails at once; plan tasks and meetings to reduce travel time.
Find ways to improve your time habits and reduce your working hours - start with a Time Audit.
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