Move one step closer to working four hours a week with these ways.
Free Book Preview: Coach ’Em Way Up
Discover how to be an influential mentor through tips and advice based on the teachings of respected basketball coach John Wooden.
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As entrepreneurs, we are always told to work smart, not hard, to delegate and that if we’re working more than four hours a week, we’re working too much. However, when the workplace is changing rapidly, time zones are blurring into one and goal posts are moving daily, is it a myth to be able to be productive and still work less?
These are give things that can help cut the number of hours we work as we chase the elusive four-hour work week. Hammock, palm trees and cocktails not included.
1. Multitask in meetings
If working from home has done anything, it’s made people want to take their time in meetings and do something else with their camera and microphones off. After all, these things can be a huge waste of time if all you’re doing is barely paying attention. And while yes, it might be nice to get a workout in or make a meal during a meeting, if you end up getting called on that might be problematic. So instead, try thinking about what your light tasks are for the day. Going through your email, editing your to-do list, checking in on your schedule and replying to some quick messages are all easy things you can do that won’t take your mind completely off of the meeting. You can keep your camera and microphone on while still being able to give the occasional nod and smile. Additionally, you’ll be able to cut all of these things out of your schedule later so you can free up time for other things.
2. Ask for an agenda
There’s a common misconception that because people are working at home they have more time to work. The truth is that the average worker has potentially more work to do and less time to do it, and with meetings taking up such significant chunks of time it might not be beneficial to attend every meeting. If you have a project that needs your attention or just need to catch up on some busy work and have a meeting that takes up that valuable time, ask the organizer for the agenda first to see if attending this meeting would really be to your benefit. People will be completely understanding if you can’t make it, and you could even ask someone to record notes on the meeting for you if you want to make sure you didn’t miss anything important.
3. Find someone better than you
One of the biggest lessons you can learn running a business is that not every fire should be put out by you. Research has shown that leaders who delegate often have teams that have higher job satisfaction, innovative behavior and task performance. It might feel like every decision is equally important, but that shouldn’t be the case. When you’re working in a company with a team of people, there are going to have to be different strengths divided amongst the members, so oftentimes there will be someone who is better equipped to deal with a certain issue. Take the time to figure out which of your team members are best at what and use that knowledge to improve and balance out your workflow. Doing this will not only ensure that you’re using your time wisely, but it will also make sure your team is using their time wisely.
4. Work while on the go
One of the most important things we can do in the current work environment is find opportunities to work outside while we’re at home. After all, spending time outside has been scientifically proven to have several key health benefits, and it significantly lowers stress and anxiety. Routines that we all once had for when we left the house have now changed and sometimes even disappeared from our schedules. But now more than ever it’s important to find time to get out of your home even while you’re on the clock. That could mean taking a call while you’re walking the dog or working on something outside at a local park if the weather is nice enough. Doing little things like this will allow you to take advantage of the online nature of work, take it on the go and still get it done while also getting some fresh air.
5. Set up software
The true path to automation is through software. Although not all of us are equipped to completely automate our presence in Zoom meetings, there are little things that we can do with software that we already have to make the work we do more productive. Just look at Gmail and its ability to schedule an email to send. At first, this tool didn’t seem like it could be super useful, but all you have to do is consider how other people’s schedules work. For example, say you are working with an international business and you need to send them an email but they’re currently asleep. Why not schedule to send that email when their workday starts your time to ensure that it’s at the top of their inbox? Or consider transitioning your company onto a smarter project management software that will help keep everyone organized and on task.
Working from home especially can be incredibly difficult at the best of times. Being stuck in your house for hours a day while working can really damper what you’re doing and make you feel like you’re not being nearly as productive as you could. But with these five tips you will be able to cut down on busy work and give you to the time to do what you truly want — like master the art of cocktail-making.