How To: Work Less & Get More Accomplished

Work Less & Get More Accomplished

From our work life to our home life, we have an awful lot of projects, tasks, and activities that require more productivity than play. After working for an entire day in the office, no one wants to face even more that needs to be done at home.

However, there's a trick to avoiding burnout and feelings of overwork—and it lies in doing less when you're at your desk. Keep your work hours to a minimum, and you'll find yourself being more productive overall.

1. Cut Down on Chores During the Workweek

Though you don't exactly focus on doing the dishes or folding laundry while at the office, the work you perform at home can cut into all that you accomplish during the workday.

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According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, chores eat up a significant portion of our hours and days away from the office. Instead of spending time relaxing and unplugging, we're working away—and turning our lives into seven-day workweeks. Instead of filling your free time with all that needs to get done at home, schedule it in during the week and leave your weekends all for you.

2. Squeeze a Workout into Your Schedule

Dr. Bradberry also recommends getting in a good workout if you're looking to decrease your workload.

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Why? When we get moving, our stress levels drop and our brains get creative. While you're sweating it out in spin class, or logging miles on your at-home treadmill, you're working on innovation. Ideas will begin flowing, you'll start making new connections, and find inspiration that just won't come to you while slaving away at your desk. The more you move, the greater solutions to tackle your workload you'll find.

3. Make Time at Your Desk for Fun

Find yourself dreaming of vacations, even if they're as simple as lounging at home on the couch? Taking time away from your work is an important tool that can help you get even more done when you are working. Schedule some time to have fun and get out of the office, and you'll clear your mind and your stress.

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As Forbes writes, both taking time off and spending a few minutes browsing the Internet for fun distractions lead to better workers. When you sit down at your desk and really get to work, you'll feel refreshed—and you'll have even more energy to tackle all that lies ahead.

4. Stick to a Schedule

You've heard it said a million times: stick to a schedule, and you'll find the time to accomplish everything. Although you probably won't be able to take over the world with down-to-the-minute scheduling in your life, adhering to a regular schedule can help you to minimize the amount of work that you do.

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According to Fast Company, following a regular schedule breeds both creativity and productivity. Often, we find ourselves backtracking to tasks or activities we've already spent time on. Can't seem to get away from checking on that same project, or re-reading meeting notes to see what you may be missing? Make some time for the task, and then move on—don't go back. When we complete something just once, at its scheduled time, we work harder and more effectively at it.

5. Follow Parkinson's Law

In the same vein as scheduling your life into an easy routine, it's important to hold yourself to strict deadlines. Why? When the clock is ticking away, the pressure increases, and you'll suddenly find the motivation to get things done.

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This phenomenon is called Parkinson's Law, as Scott H. Young explains. When there is a set time at which to stop, or when something is due, we will work to fill the time available for us to finish it. So, if you have three weeks to tackle a project, you will stretch it out and take every day of those three weeks. Yet if you only have two hours, you'll bust out impressive work on the same project in considerably less time. A self-imposed deadline means the work gets done ASAP.

6. Categorize All That You Do

Some people can't stand to-do lists, but if you're interested in working less, you might want to start making one each day. Write out all that you plan to do, personally, professionally, and for fun—yes, even fun.

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Though it sounds counterintuitive, scheduling every aspect of your life helps you to prioritize. You'll not only have a physical list on which you can prioritize your time at work to get more completed, but you'll learn to value your off-duty hours. Scheduled a dinner out on a weekday evening? If you see that on your to-do list, you'll be sure to skip staying late to complete repetitive work, and find fuel to help you move fast at your desk.

More Productivity Tips

Working less and accomplishing more takes some shuffling, but as you reorganize your plan of attack, you can find more free time and less stress. But if that's not enough, here are some other productivity tips you should check out.

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