Can we work less, still work well and earn enough money? I think about this a lot. I am tired of working long hours and feeling like work dominates everything. I don’t want my children to grow up to replicate this workaholic lifestyle – so I need to change something. But what? How can we work less, work well and earn well?
Well, I don’t have any definitive answers – sorry! But I have a few ideas I am going to test out over the next while. I think if I can do these I may be able to work less hours, but still produce quality work, and get the money!
- Work smart: I have read a lot about this, and it seems we can improve efficiency in a couple of ways. Firstly, limit emails – only look at them two/ three times a day; put aside email time and deal with them and then close the emails. Having them constantly popping up interrupts, distracts and wastes time.
- Schedule meetings back to back in blocks. Also ensure you have significant blocks of time that are meeting-free and email-free to focus on ‘real work’. Analyse yourself, “When am I most effective?” I do my best thinking in the morning, so I should do my ‘big thinking’ work in the mornings.
- Stop the guilt: there seems to be a growing culture, even competition perhaps, around everyone ‘working too hard and being stressed’. It sort of feels like one ‘ought to be over-worked and stressed’, and somehow it’s becoming a sign of success. Let’s stop that; let’s proudly say, “Actually, no, I have changed how I work – I am no longer over-worked and stressed, but I still work well”.
- Separate working well from working long hours: working long hours does not necessarily mean we work harder, better or have more demanding jobs. In fact, it may mean we don’t work efficiently at all. I think it’s a mental shift; we need to reclaim our self from our work – we need to proudly say “I work less, and my work is still great.”
These are my initial thoughts; I am going to practice them for a while and see how it goes. I’ll let you all know in a few months’ time if it’s working, and whether I am working less, working well and still earning well.
As I write this I am about to contract someone to build us a garden deck – seven years of planning and finally we are doing it! In my next column I’ll tell you all about how we are affording it.