Can higher working hours reduce productivity

6 productivity hacks: stop working, get smarter

Increase productivity - that promises more and better work in less time. From the company's point of view, this primarily means cost savings and employees want to end work earlier and less time pressure through higher productivity. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to implement than expected. Sure, you can skip breaks or work overtime in the evening. Ultimately, however, there is only one way to increase your productivity in a really sensible and sustainable way: By not working more or faster, but simply “smarter”. But how?

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1. Longer working hours do not mean more productivity
2. You don't have to work anymore;
3. Work smarter in six steps: How to increase your productivity
4. Tip # 1: First plan, then do!
5. Tip # 2: Let someone else do your job!
6. Tip # 3: Be your own business consultant!
7. Tip # 4: Work “by feeling”!
8. Tip # 5: Read the instruction manuals!
9. Tip # 6: Use slack!

Longer working hours do not mean more productivity

A fatal error is making the rounds in our society. It reads: If you want to increase your productivity, you have to work harder. So breaks are cut and overtime is accumulated - all in the interests of a career. The 40-hour week becomes a 50-hour week and a short time later a 60-hour week. After work, the weekend and vacation are also used for work or at least for all the private obligations that otherwise remain - household, shopping, doctor's appointments, etc. So German employees rush from a stressful professional life into an equally stressful private life and back again.

But instead of increased productivity, it just seems to decrease more and more, until at some point burnout syndrome or another stress-related illness beckons. The truth is, productivity has nothing to do with the amount of time you invest in your work. Those who work too much instead leach themselves until the first health problems become noticeable - which only further reduce productivity and thereby lead those affected into a true vicious circle. And even in the course of the working day you do not work consistently productively, but your energy and concentration continue to decrease. The ninth, tenth or eleventh hour at work is therefore nothing but wasted - i.e. unproductive - time.

You don't have to work anymore, you have to work smarter

Since just a few hours of overtime make you sick and you also waste your valuable free time, you should increase your productivity in other ways. Smart work organization can take your career to the next level and still give you a good work-life balance. So if you no longer work, but smarter, you can do more within regular working hours, you can finish work on time and still be promoted faster and higher - guaranteed.

Reading tip:6-hour working day - fairy tales or soon in Germany too?

The first pilot projects with reduced working hours, such as the six-hour working day in Sweden, have already impressively demonstrated that working hours and productivity have an even less correlation than expected - or rather, a different one. In fact, productivity does not increase by working a longer than eight-hour working day, but by a shorter one. The brain has more regeneration phases and can therefore work significantly more productively within two, four or six hours a day than with eight or more hours. In the pilot projects, the overall productivity of the participating companies increased across the board - despite the widespread introduction of the six-hour working day.

Reading tip:Goodbye 40-hour week? According to scientists, the perfect work week looks like this

Scientists are therefore certain that the 40-hour week will soon be a thing of the past. Digitization and the associated boom in remote work make it possible and it would definitely make sense with regard to the health, satisfaction and, accordingly, productivity of employees. They go even further and estimate the working day of the future to be just two to four hours. The rapid development in the field of robots and intelligent technologies should make this possible - and sufficient. But how do you actually work “smarter” in order to increase your productivity and still be able to shorten your working hours?

Work smarter in six steps: How to increase your productivity

Do you know the following video? It proves that hard work isn't always the ideal solution - not in sports and neither in professional life. Sometimes you don't have to work any harder, you “just” have to work smarter.

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You don't have to be a visionary to do this, however, and you don't have to be gifted with ingenuity or outstanding talent. There are already very simple measures that you can use to organize your work more intelligently, thereby increasing your productivity and ultimately saving a lot of time. Which are they?

Tip # 1: plan first, then do it!

To save time, many people jump straight into work. It is well known that the brain is most productive in the morning and you can work particularly concentrated and quickly in the first few hours at work. You shouldn't waste time on unimportant activities, right? Correct! But the unimportant activities include, for example, your e-mails, which you can still check before the lunch break, or the Facebook chat window open in the browser. On the other hand, it is important to plan a day so that you can then ply your to-do list point by point.

It is best to keep a diary for at least a week and list when you do what and for how long. Then take half an hour to a full hour to eliminate the biggest time wasters. This knowledge alone about the time that you waste day after day on really unimportant tasks will help you to better structure your working day in the future. And then you have enough time again for the five to ten minutes in the morning to create a daily plan.

Tip # 2: let someone else do your job!

No, you shouldn't sit back lazily and let other people do your work and you shouldn't increase your productivity at the expense of your colleagues. However, giving in your work every now and then can be an important lesson. Especially with routine processes you will sooner or later become “operationally blind”. If someone else suddenly does your work and looks at it from a new perspective, they can often identify potential for improvement. It creates new templates, reduces complex processes or finds space for time savings. Perhaps, like the cyclist in the video, she will also develop a completely new work system.

Reading tip:Excessive demands on the job - 10 effective first aid measures

If, on the other hand, you are permanently suffering from an excessive workload, you have to seek a one-on-one conversation with your supervisor and in future delegate tasks that do not fall within your specialty. After all, the concept of the division of labor does not exist for nothing. If every employee can concentrate on their specialty and thereby increase their productivity, the entire company becomes more productive.

Tip # 3: Be Your Own Business Consultant!

A management consultant is usually an entrepreneur's best friend, but an employee's worst enemy. When a management consultancy is due, this often means even more time pressure for the workforce, poor working conditions or the cancellation of special payments - possibly even jobs. Time and cost efficiency of all processes are the focus of management consultants and accordingly they check exactly where money or time can be saved. It is not uncommon for the measures to be unsustainable and fizzle out the moment the management consultant leaves the house.

Time is not money.
But money takes time from some and time takes money from others.

(Ron Kritzfeld)

Instead, appear as your own "management consultant" and check your work processes at regular intervals for possible time and cost savings. This not only increases your productivity, but such initiative will also make an impression on your superiors and, with a little luck, boost your career. And if not, you will at least have a more relaxed working day, a more balanced work-life balance and a lower risk of being “rationalized away” the next time a management consultant visits you.

Tip # 4: Work “by feeling”!

Admittedly, this tip is only for employees with the luxury of being able to divide their working hours at least partially freely. You work most productively when you “feel like it”. After all, every person has better and worse days and there are also big differences in productivity within a working day: the “larks” work better in the morning, the “owls” are particularly productive at night and then of course there are all mixed forms.

Reading tip:Morning grouch? With these 10 tips, getting up in the morning will be easier

In addition, there are people who need several small breaks at regular intervals and others who prefer to work four hours and then take a long break. So find your personal rhythm and work when you “feel like it” - that is, when you are most productive.

Tip # 5: Read the instruction manuals!

Sometimes it takes half an hour or a full hour to save a ton of time over the next few days, weeks, months, or even years. For example with operating instructions: If you deal intensively with the functions of technical devices - your smartphone maybe or your laptop - you can save valuable seconds throughout the day thanks to shortcuts, operating aids & Co. The half or full hour that you invest in reading the operating instructions is an investment that is definitely worthwhile.

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Tip # 6: use slack!

Last but not least, despite optimizing your schedule according to the first tip, you will still have unproductive times in everyday (work) life. Let's assume you are waiting for a meeting to start, a customer is late or you are sitting in the departure lounge at the airport and have half an hour left before your business trip begins - you can use all of these slack for productive work. All in all, whether it's five minutes or 30 minutes, it will save you a lot of time, work more productively, and thus accumulate less overtime, or sometimes just quit early.

What other simple tricks do you know to make everyday work smarter and thereby increase productivity? How do you personally save valuable time or what measures have you made more productive in the past? We look forward to your suggestions in the comments!

Photo credit: Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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