A recent Inc. article unveils the truth about people who appear to be over-worked; you know the ones—they work late almost every night and on the weekends whether in the office or at home. Author AJ Agrawal’s reveals that in all honesty, these people are more than likely working inefficiently and that, “to produce more results, you don’t have to work longer, just smarter.”
Here are three strategies that you can begin using today to optimize your time and maximize your productivity.
- Take your Vitamin Zzzzzzz. Many people underestimate the power of sleep. In fact, a Huffington Post article revealed that one extra hour of sleep per night helps to reactivate helpful genes; improve a person’s competitive edge and memory. Staying up later than usual and/or catching up on lost sleep on the weekends actually disturbs the body’s circadian rhythm. Never substitute a work-out for sleep as exercise makes you feel fantastic and enables you to stay focused all day long. Heavily caffeinated supplements are only a short–term solution to drowsy and sluggish feelings because the body builds up a tolerance to them. Instead of being able to focus on producing quality work, too much caffeine will result in your trying to race through tasks and completing a subpar job.
- Cluster your meetings. When planning your day or working on your daily task list, eliminate as many small time wasters as possible. For example, the chunks of 30 or 45 minute blocks in between meetings—these small windows of opportunity often do not offer ample time to complete a task. Instead, stack your meetings as closely together as possible. It’s okay to have small windows in case you need to review something or anticipate a meeting will run over, however deleting these time wasters means you’ll have more time to get something important done. Agrawal fairly states, “The typical argument I hear is that…we have a meeting that goes over. Understandable, but being late to one meeting is not worth sacrificing 728 hours of my year.” Consider what a daily block of wasted time accumulates to be over the duration of a year and you won’t hesitate to start clustering your meetings.
- Put yourself first. Your personal mental and physical well-being are paramount to your professional success. Living a well-balanced, healthy life enables you to be more efficient because you have ample energy and keen focus to produce quality work on a consistent basis. Here are a few quick tips to attain optimal well-being in our out of the office:
- Avoid food comas and fight fatigue by eating smaller meals more frequently.
- Take regular breaks because resting your brain also rejuvenates it so that you can maintain maximum productivity.
- Adopt a long-term focus instead of thinking only in tight increments. Agrawal admits that while many people lament that they don’t have time to take breaks, eat and meditate, the truth is that those short activities will increase your efficiency over the long-term.