When it comes to many of the people who we think are hardworking, we're really just misinformed. For instance, it is a common thought that people who work late are hardworking. Why? Because the assumption is that they have so much work to do that they must burn the midnight oil to get it done. Another example is when we see people who always seem like they are busy all the time. Again, they have taken on so much work that they must work all the time.
In truth, most of these "hard workers" are just inefficient. Look closely and you'll see they use these methods to produce the same results as everybody else. And while it can be argued that these people are disciplined because of their work ethic, more of a focus should be put on productivity. And to produce more results, you don't have to work longer, just smarter.
Here are some easy ways to do this that most people don't take advantage of. Start using these strategies today and watch your daily output increase significantly. You'll get your work done and still have time to spend with your family and have a social life. The hard workers of the world will start to think you're working later than they are. But in reality, you'll feel like you've never had it easier.
1. Don't stay up too late.
The longer we stay up, the lower our efficiency becomes. Even coffee and other caffeine-packed supplements are only short-term solutions. Your body builds up a tolerance, and you must take more and more caffeine to keep it up. You start becoming tired and burnt out. Work objectives become more focused on getting tasks done as fast as possible than on doing a quality job.
Instead, get to bed early and get up early. In the morning, try knocking out the gym workout right when you wake up. I hate waking up while it's still dark out, but going to sleep early enough to get seven hours of shut-eye helps a lot. The other issue with staying up too late is that, at some point, your body will crash. People who stay up late will start feeling tired day after day, and their energy will diminish. Our bodies need time to rest to be productive; trying to beat this is a battle you will lose.
Finally, life is much better and work is more fun when we are motivated. When we are sleep-deprived, we lose motivation but also become more negative. So get to bed early and take on the important tasks in the morning. We are most efficient in the early hours, so take advantage of them to the fullest.
2. Stack your meetings.
When planning your day, try removing as many small time wasters as possible. Most of these come in the 30 to 45 extra time spans we have before meetings. The time isn't long enough to complete another task on our list, but at the same time it's long enough to damage our efficiency for the day. To solve this, start tracking how long your typical meetings takes. Once you have a good idea, plan your next one right after. If you need more time to plan before the next one, make a short period of time to do that, but don't be generous.
In most instances, we plan for way more time than we actually need, then waste one or two hours a day doing nothing. The typical argument I hear is that there's always the chance that something happens and we have a meeting that goes over. Understandable, but being late to one meeting is not worth sacrificing 728 hours of my year.
3. Take care of yourself.
It doesn't take much time to take care of our mental and physical well-being. In fact, living healthier lives can save us time. We'll be more energized and productive throughout the day, and we'll be able to remain focused longer.
For example, some believe that by eating a few large meals, they are saving time. But this leads to what we call "food comas," which is the fatigue we feel after we eat. Likewise, often when you ask people if they meditate, the response you get is that they don't have time. But if you talk to people who do take a few minutes daily to practice meditation, most say it improves their efficiency. Too many people use time as an excuse to not take care of themselves, but they focus only on short-term benefits. But it is those who approach the challenge with a long-term view who will have the final laugh.