Recently, I was working with a business client that was complaining about not having enough time in her day. I asked her to write her schedule down daily. When we reviewed the schedule the next week, she commented that she was certain I could see the problem. There just wasn’t enough time to accomplish everything important in her life!
What I did decipher, among other things, was that she worked an unbelievable amount of hours in her career. In fact, she worked well over 60 of them. Now, I’m sure that this bit of information does not faze some of you. You see a clear connection between the number of hours you work weekly and your desired career success. However, I beg to differ.
I own my own business and am quite guilty of working my fair share of 60-hour weeks, or more. It’s not unusual for me to be working 7 days a week on some aspect of my job. Yet, I noticed something yesterday that I want to share with you. Maybe this resonated with me because of the recent discussion with my client. Anyway, it was Saturday afternoon, and I was sitting at my desk. I had a to-do list beside me and knew exactly what I needed to accomplish. However, I was getting absolutely nothing done. Yes, I kept myself busy by jumping around on the internet and checking this or that- but I neglected to finish one thing on my list.
I was busy, but not with the tasks that I needed to accomplish.
I was mad at myself for not being able to be productive. I pulled up my accounts and began the task of filling in yesterday’s appointment updates. However, my brain was working in slow motion. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t focus on anything. Frustrated, I gave up after 2 hours of being “busy”.
Did you know that 4 in 10 Americans work over 50 hours a week? That probably doesn’t surprise you, but how about this tidbit: your productivity falls starting at 50 hours a week, and takes an even steeper decline at 55 hours weekly. Numerous studies back up the fact that at 55 hours, you become less efficient and the quality of your work declines.
Could this be the reason for the frustrating experience at my desk?
Maybe it’s not that we’re so busy in our lives as much as we waste time pretending like we’re working hard. Maybe we could get much more accomplished if we worked less hours and made those hours really matter.
My suggestion is to step back and take a good look at your work habits. Your life could possibly feel like it’s spinning out of control because you’re working hard, but you’re not working smart. You’re putting in the time, but you’re not making the MOST of your time. You could very well be like me and be wasting time, going through the motions of what you call work.
Before you consider implementing CHANGES, give some thought to the beliefs that you have about work. Do you believe that working hard is the only key to success? Does it soothe your guilt when you work? Do you think that it looks good to others? Does it enable you to ignore another part of your life?
Before you can make positive CHANGES, you need to understand what purpose overworking serves in your life.