How doing less can make you more productive

July 18, 2022

The era of "hustle culture" is upon us. Phrases like "rise and grind" are frequently shared, and many consider it a badge of honor to work long hours and constantly be busy. But how much more are these people getting done?

As it turns out, not much. Harvard Business Review reports we're only truly focused on work for about six hours per week, out of the 40 hours the average person is clocked in. The day may seem to fly by, and you might think you couldn't possibly be one of those six-hour people. But busy work doesn't require focus, and realigning priorities and properly managing your time, might mean you can cut back on the time spent at your desk.

When you sit down for a short period to work, and spend the rest of your day doing the things you love, you may find that you can get that same amount of work done and in a much faster way.
In order to start doing less overall, and become more productive, consider the following points.

Having a micromanager is a nightmare for employees. But being a micromanager is a nightmare for yourself! You can accomplish more of your important goals when you let go of the small things, according to Entrepreneur.

Instead of focusing on every detail, take a step back. If you can focus on the big picture, and allow your team to make decisions on their own, you'll free up headspace as well as your email inbox. Taking some focused time to train your team (and being OK if they make mistakes), will eliminate the busy work of "Is it OK if…" emails and your overall brain power.

Doing the most
As evidenced earlier, a more hands-off approach is surprisingly helpful when it comes to productivity. Harvard Business Review reports that doing less overall is actually the key to being productive.
Take some things off of your plate, and focus on what's most important. If you assign yourself 3 (or whatever number works for you) manageable projects to get done, rather than a set 9-5 schedule of sitting at your desk, you'll find that you probably don't need all 8 hours. Whereas if you simply say, "OK, I am going to be working for the next 8 hours," you'll certainly sit at your desk the whole time, but how much you get done may be another story.

Taking care
Productivity can look different for everyone, and it especially varies between businesses. But if you can learn to delegate, prioritize, and determine what is most important to your daily success, you may find that you have more time to spend with family, doing self care, exercising, and more. These are all things that can boost you up, giving you more motivation to get things done and increasing your overall joy.

With this in mind, "rise and grind" can be removed from the vernacular. Enter: Work smarter, not harder.