Last week as I listened to Radio 4’s programme “The Joy of 9 to 5” I was reminded how much work has taken over modern life. With more than half of us in the UK working 40 or more hours a week, I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit to checking work emails before breakfast and having a quick peak at them before I go to bed at night.
But what I found particularly alarming was learning how working long hours can impair our critical thinking and negatively impact our productivity. According to research from Stanford University, after working 50 hours a week our productivity dips, after 55 hours it drops off a cliff, and a person working 70 hours a week is completely ineffective for the last 15 hours. Scarier still was the news that working long hours on a regular basis can result in cognitive loss at the end of your career and make your more susceptible to depression.
So how do we make sure we manage our time more effectively and work smartly? Here are Diadem’s 4 D’s to help you boost your efficiency at work and make this year’s run-up to Christmas your most productive and successful yet.
4 Ways To Work Smarter:
1. Do it!
You’ve got a to-do list as long as your arm and you’re called into a meeting about an urgent problem with your key client – the choice is clear – prioritise this issue immediately so you can try to resolve it as soon as possible. You won’t even have chance to procrastinate as the sense of urgency will spur you into action. The same rule is true of all urgent, highly important tasks, they should be prioritised to the top of your list.
2. Delay it!
In reality it’s impossible to do everything immediately, so, it’s essential to priortise your workload in a logical and time efficient manner. For tasks that are important but not urgent I would suggest delaying them until you have dealt with more pressing issues. However, it’s essential to remember that these are still important tasks that cannot be forgotten, so make sure you carve out time to deal with them effectively at a later date.
3. Drop it!
Whether it’s an email you’ve been meaning to reply to since 2012 or some research you keep hoping to do – we all have tasks on our to-do list that we should actually get rid of. I’m talking about those unimportant, low urgency jobs that eat up our time and don’t add any real value. Forget them – erase them from your list and you will immediately feel more liberated. By prioritising in this way, you will have more time to focus on the important tasks at hand and not get distracted by time wasters.
4. Delegate it!
Mastering the art of delegation is crucial to working efficiently. No one can do everything – so when you manage your workload consider which of the urgent but low important tasks can be delegated to others. The key to delegating successfully is choosing the right person and explaining clearly and precisely what you expect them to do. Remember to encourage a real sense of ownership whilst allowing them enough time to complete the project.
I hope that by following Diadem’s 4 D’s of do, delay, drop and delegate – you’ll work smarter not harder, by boosting your productivity and managing your workload more effectively at this busy time of the year.