Group of businesspeople having a meeting.

Take back your time

This months’s Money magazine had an interesting article on the typical hours a full-time worker spent in the office in America. 50 to 60 hours per week.  I’ve always asserted that one does not have to work these long hours if we are productive during our work hours.

Hope these tips help you showcase your talent at work and put time back in your pocket.

  1. Get your priorities straight: Tackle the most difficult task first. Starting with quick and easy tasks may be tempting but fear of the unknown can delay you getting the main task done and therefore you may end up working late. Try working on it for 30 minutes and going to an easier task for breathers.
  2. Showcase your skills: Tools such as Toggl will help keep you organized and stay on top of all your tasks and projects. They often have reporting capability so you can see how much time you spent on projects as well as step by step details on your progress. This should help with show-casing your talent to and productivity at your next review or daily scrum meeting.
  3. Plug productivity leaks: Turn off email/chat/social media until your break or after work. Smart phones can make you feel compelled to respond to friends and family. Let them know they should call you the old fashioned way if it was urgent. If you need convincing, track the time you spend on messaging and social media.
  4. Learn to prioritize your company email: Checking your email once every 30 minutes should suffice. Learn your email tool well enough to mark it for follow-up. Although it is tempting to respond immediately, not every email requires that, unless you are holding up someone else’s work day.
  5. Follow through: Communication is key to any job because it manages expectations and helps everyone be more prepared. Once you have your 8 hour work day done, communicate your  progress and state of affairs to a stake holder, to make sure the ultimate goal is still on target. If doing this everyday is not appreciated, try to negotiate a twice or three times a week approach.
  6. Take back your time: Be productive and happy doing an honest job for 8 hours and leave! The time you spend with your family, your hobby or interests outside of work, helps you recharge, rejuvenate and recognize how enjoyable work really is.


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