Know how: slash 10 hours from your work week

Brooke Miles, president of Delaware ShoutOut

Is your work getting in the way of life? I can relate. When I launched my company three years ago, I was working 70 hours a week. But as I kept missing precious time with my family — and suffering from chronic exhaustion — something had to change. That’s when I began studying time-management techniques. The following year, my workweek dropped from 70 hours to 35. Revenues quadrupled. Life was much better.

If you’re ready to slash hours from your workweek, try these techniques:

Quit multitasking 

This was the first big change I made; it alone took 25 hours off my workweek. Why? While you can do two things at once, your brain isn’t wired to focus on two things at once. When you multitask at work, you’re more likely to make mistakes, which you then must spend extra time fixing. Plus, countless studies have shown that tasks are completed more quickly when they’re done one at a time.

Check your email just twice a day

If you’re not running an emergency service, you can do this. The goal is to prevent multitasking. You might annoy a few high-maintenance folks who expect responses to emails within five seconds, but most people will understand. To set expectations, here’s what I have at the bottom of my email signature: “Please note: I typically check emails twice a day. By doing so, I can focus on critical projects the rest of the day and ultimately serve you better. If you need immediate assistance, please call me at (302) 273-2845.”

Manage your energy to manage your time

Productivity is like driving on I-95 — you’ll get to your destination more quickly when you avoid the traffic jams. What time of day are you most speedy? (For most people, it’s the morning.) That’s when you should try to do most of your work. Reserve the rest of the day for tasks that require less energy.
Remember: Life is short. Spend your time wisely.

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