Do you ever wish you can work fewer hours while making more money? Have you ever heard of the terms such as “work less to earn more”? In the current era, we’re in; there are great desires to work less and earn more at the same time. Luckily, it’s easier to do that now more than ever.
But there is one problem: most people won’t take action or do the things that are necessary to have that kind of lifestyle.
Work less to earn more: Work more or work less?
Let’s keep this point simple: Most people would prefer to work fewer hours and end up having more money in their pockets. While this topic is relevant today to make more money, this post will not primarily focus on the money aspect. Instead, the subject of this post will focus on increased productivity as a result of working fewer hours.
Throughout the years, working a traditional office job (8 hours or longer) was always the norm. As the years went by, things have changed in the last 10-20 years.
Due to what’s taken place around the world in 2020, how people work and the workplace itself will change drastically in this decade ahead. If that ends up being fewer hours working at the office, or not working as much if you run your own business, those can be positive things to look forward to.
Working less, increasing productivity?
When we discuss increasing productivity, it can be the same way. Take, for example, a doctor in an emergency room. Doctors may end up working faster as their workloads increase. But if they were to choose more uncomplicated cases to work on, productivity takes a tip. This scenario looked into how doctors prioritized their cases. It’s based on one study looking at how doctors performed at work.
Working less while earning more is possible, and it can lead to increased levels of productivity. In this post, I will go over a few points on why that is the case. The following points include:
1. Helping with prioritization
2. No procrastinating
3. Better managing overwhelm and stress
4. Staying more focused
5. Using the 80/20 rule can make a difference
Work less to earn more
Helps you prioritize more effectively
One of the most important skills you can have is prioritizing your tasks. On any given day, you may have a bunch of things to get done. But you know that you may not get to everything, so you’ll have to break down some of your tasks. Prioritizing what needs to get done today should be more concerning than getting everything done in one day.
If you plan on working a very long day (i.e. 10-12 hours), that’s plenty of time to get a lot of things done. Sometimes, it may not be the case if you don’t prioritize your tasks. Choosing which tasks to start or finish up your day can make a difference in how much time you save.
For instance, someone who starts off doing easy tasks may not be the best way to kick off your day. They’ll check their email, attend meetings, fill out a simple spreadsheet, or any other tasks that are easy and quick to get done.
However, you may end up wasting all of your energy and creativity if you simply do basic tasks in the beginning. Around the middle to the end of the day, you may not feel up to doing more challenging work. You feel less motivated doing deep work when your creativity and energy levels wear off later in the day.
What I do to prioritize my tasks
I’ve gotten better at prioritizing my tasks in the last year. Instead of making a to-do list, I’ll write down three things I need to get done each day. On most days, I’ll do my best to get them done before the end of the day. I like to start working on them immediately, so that way I’m not putting off on my priorities. That way, I can leave a little time to do basic or simple tasks towards the end of my day.
Less likely to procrastinate
If you get in the habit of procrastinating often, it’s time to rethink some of those patterns. Delaying regularly can be useful in the short-term, but you’re putting off important work that needs to get done. Whether it’s a personal or work task, you end up wasting time that could be spent doing more fulfilling things.
Let’s take someone who works a 10-hour workday. As I mentioned earlier, you can accomplish a lot in a 10-hour work period. But the chances of procrastinating are still there if you end up killing some time throughout the day.
What do I mean by this: someone may walk around to grab another cup of coffee, maybe chat with a coworker, or casually surf on the internet. These are the small time-wasters that people do when they procrastinate. If these things happen too often each day, the likelihood of productivity will go down during a long workday.
Instead of doing these little things so often, people should impose deadlines at work. Now deadlines are standard in the workplace but should be practiced during long workdays. For example, if you schedule a one-hour meeting, and you only have one hour to get those things done, that puts more pressure on you. That pressure or feeling that you have a limited amount of time to get things done.
Setting deadlines can be challenging, but they’re a great motivation to get more work done faster. Now you don’t want to rush and do a poor job, and it’s just a matter of staying focused on the tasks at hand. It’s why setting deadlines is a common practice so that you won’t have to procrastinate often.
Less likely to be overwhelmed and stressed
No doubt working fewer hours means less stress. There are many health and psychological benefits to working fewer hours, which is what all individuals need regardless. According to one study done by the University of Warwick, happiness made people 12% more productive at work.
By working less, there certainly should be a sense of happiness. When we’re happy with the work we do, most likely, we’re more productive. Also, it’s much less likely people will feel burnout and exhausted at work. It often happens for people who put in long workdays. Not only does it take a toll on productivity, but also on health as well.
Staying more focused
Maintaining focus is not always an easy task. It’s possible to do it during short time frames (working only a half-day), but one thing if you work a long workday. Working 10-hour days can be exhausting and challenging to maintain focus regularly. Our brains can take in so much information at a time that it’s impossible to take it all in at one specific time.
It may explain why people working more hours have the same outcome compared to others who work less. Somebody working 70 hours each week can produce the same results as someone who works between 40-50 hours each week. The person may work more hours has a hard time staying focused, or solely not concentrate on their priorities.
Also, staying focused can help with accuracy, which leads to fewer errors. If you work shorter hours and maintain the right focus, that can produce a better outlook on the work you do. It’s easy to get distracted and why attention is a crucial skill to have in any type of work you perform.
The 80/20 rule makes a big difference
If you’re all too familiar with time management, you’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule. This rule (or the Pareto’s principle) means the majority of the things you do- 80% of the results usually come from 20% of your efforts. Or it can be the opposite way around. It’s a pervasive rule that some of the most successful people have followed in life.
One typical example would be working as a freelancer. Here are two different scenarios to look at in applying the 80/20 rule:
You work for ten different clients. You do the same amount of work, but you’re still getting paid the same rate per client—overall results: Same amount of work, but less money and more time to complete them.
If you had one client that gave you more work that paid you more money (and less time to complete), that would be the better option. Overall: one client with a workload equivalent of 10 clients = more money and less time).
There are a ton of examples I could go over on this rule. But the point is to work less while earning more money at the same time. It’s something that many people desire in life, but most of them won’t end up taking the steps necessary to get there.
For more information about the 80/20 rule, check out this book review I wrote.
Working less while earning more is not a new thing, but it can also increase productivity levels as well. One of the key points to take away is not spending too much time on the little things. If you’re a procrastinator, start making some small changes today.
Also, prioritizing your tasks is a big one. If you can learn this skill, you’re much more likely to get more done rather than doing what’s comfortable at any given moment (i.e., checking email or scrolling through social media feeds).
Although this article focuses on increasing productivity, it makes more sense if you want to work fewer hours. Many people want to work less and make more money, but the majority of them won’t do what’s necessary to get those desired outcomes. It’s all about mindset and changing habits that can make the difference down the road.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Is there one approach I discussed that you’ve tried before but fallen short on?
Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Also, please share this post with others.
Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, quitkillingtime.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook and LinkedIn.