December 8

Entrepreneurial Tip Of The Day: Why Are You So Busy?

I have a challenge for you today! Do ALL of your work in 4 hours.

No this isn't some sexy Tim Ferris 4 hour work week thing. This is about a story that I heard recently and a personal experience.

Each month John Lee Dumas and Kate Erickson record a podcast where they discuss their monthly income, lessons learned and other interesting stats about their business.

In the episode that I heard John discussed how he was able to get ALL of his work done in just half the time he normally allots.

Have you heard Parkinson's law: "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" ?

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#Truth

Well, the only time that this may not be true is when it comes to traffic. Traffic seems to be the one thing that always causes time to slow down against our will.

STORY TIME:


So John and Kate were traveling, living the digital nomad life, and still needed to work. They were going to be in one place for 30 days and while they knew that they needed to work they also wanted to have fun.

How does one do that?

The obvious choice is reduce the workload but that wasn't a real option for John. So he just decided to be more efficient. He told himself that he didn't have time for his usual distractions and only had 4 hours to do the work.

That dude got more work done in those half days than he normally did in a full day.

Be like John.

But it isn't just that simple?

Yes, it really is.

So if you don't believe me check the results of this study. We American in particular believe that the more hours we work, the more work that we will get done.

It just isn't true.

If you work over 50 hours a week, your productivity falls sharply. How sharply does productivity fall? Well, to quote CNBC, it falls off a cliff.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Entrepreneurial Tip Of The Day: Why Are You So Busy? Get more done! #GTD” quote=”Entrepreneurial Tip Of The Day: Why Are You So Busy? Get more done! #GTD”]

Research that attempts to quantify the relationship between hours worked and productivity found that employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours, according to a study published last year by John Pencavel of Stanford University. ~source


CNBC

So maybe Tim Ferris has the right idea after all. While I don't personally know anyone that works only a 4 Hour Work Week, I know that my workday has reduced.

Guest What! With a reduced workday, I am producing more.

Isn't life really just a mental game in the first place? When I worked a corporate job, back in the day, the weeks moved so crazy slowly. Can you feel me on this?

Mondays sucked but Tuesday blew. I would tell myself that if I could just get thru Tuesday that the week was seriously over. The biggest struggle was getting myself to that office on Tuesday mornings. All of my focus would be on Tuesdays no matter the day of the week.

This silly mental game worked for me. It makes no sense, so I don't even recommend trying it. The truth here though is that our brain is powerful but also perhaps a bit dumb. It will play along with whatever we tell it.

Perhaps we really do create our own reality?

So let me ask you again, why are you so busy? I challenge you to do all of your work in half the time that you normally allow.

The only real question is can you trick your brain into believing that is all of the time that you have?


Tags

entrepreneurial life, Get more done


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  1. Our brain is powerful but also perhaps a bit dumb – I love that and I believe it’s true. We can play little tricks on our brains to create certain actions. We can create own urgent deadlines to get things done in a certain time frame. If you believe in the deadline you do work faster and avoid distractions that can sidetrack you.

    1. Tamuria,

      Yes, exactly! If I think that I am going to be late getting somewhere, I can be quite efficient at getting out the door. There is no reason to not treat my average day the same way right?

      Cheers,
      -Renee’

  2. I’ve tried to finish my work in less time by giving myself a shorter deadline. Thus far I haven’t been successful. While I love the concept, I’m skeptical that it works for me. However, I do believe that if I cut out ALL distractions during my day, I could shave off a few hours. But then I’d want to use those hours for more work. ;) Maybe I’ll give it another try. I’m a deadline-driven person, so maybe the key is making the deadline something more pressing!

    1. Meghan,

      By the way, I am a huge fan of using this additional time to get additional work done. It is the primary reason that this story inspired me. Currently, I am in the middle of the hustle with my business and I can use all of the time that I can get. It has become obvious to me that I can do more with greater focus.

      Blog on,
      -Renee’

  3. Whoa that’s super interesting but I believe it! I know when I have fewer hours to get something done I HUSTLE and often manage to do it. it’s when I have TOO much time that I find myself wasting it. So much to think about.

    1. Sarah,

      Good! It is exciting to hear that this has inspired you to consider the concept. There is nothing that can me to clean house faster than a phone call that someone is “stopping” by. On an average day, it can take me all day to clean the house. So yes, we are able to get more done with focus and a time boundary.

      Blog on,
      -Renee’

  4. I absolutely believe this, and social media has made time suck such so much worse. I began my career in the early computer stages (think DOS), and as things evolved productivity increased. Then email, social media, etc began to suck away those improvements. I find if I tell myself to focus on the task at hand – no chasing bells and whistles, then, in the end, I can have bells. It works! I chunk time, and then have mini rewards. If I am not chunking, I am wasting! Great article to get me thinking more about chunking!

    1. Robin,

      So you are quite familiar with the evolution of this busy feeling. It is great to know that this post inspired you. We all need to think about how we are spending our time. I am a big believer in wasting time sitting on the porch or whatever else that we enjoy. We just need to choose to do it.

      Cheers,
      -Renee’

  5. Personally I have NEVER believed that hours worked equates to how much we get done. The sad thing is so many companies operate from this very out-dated mentality. I knew I could do more, when I set out to, than most people would. I love the idea of working less and producing more and love Tim Ferriss and his concepts. It really is about changing our perspective and creating new patterns. We can all do it! Thanks Renee!

    1. Beverley,

      You are so correct about the outdated mentality of corporate life. The bad there is that a lot of companies punish you if you are idle or get the work done too quickly.

      Cheers to you,
      -Renee’

  6. I think I’m going to give this a try. I do something similar when I’m doing something I don’t like to do like clean the house. I’ll set a timer, and for the duration, I can’t do anything but clean. No stopping. It keeps me focused and it’s not such a chore when I can knock it out item by item quickly and efficiently. I think I’m going to give this a shot. I could sure use some extra hours in my day…

    1. Joan,

      Well, I am not sure about the 4 hour work week yet but I am sure on board with the 4 hour day. It seems 100% possible and I am going to do my best. Although, if I work more hours but with more focus what would happen?

      Cheers,
      -Renee’

  7. It’s true. Focused concentration allows you to get a lot more done in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, most of us get easily distracted. I try to carve out blocks of time to focus on one thing only. That seems to work for me. Love to hear what others are doing.

    1. Joyce,

      Yes, you get it. One thing at a time. It is difficult to wrap our heads around sometimes but it is all that we can truly do anyways. Multitasking is really just stopping and starting over and over again.

      Cheers,
      -Renee’

  8. I Adore this post! Yes I know for a fact that I waste LOTS of time during the day. A couple of months ago another social media group put out a challenge to make a change for a week that will impact your business. I chose to eliminate the online jigsaw puzzles. (yes I am addicted). The amount of things I accomplished that week were amazing. And it was a busy week with lots of projects and client interaction. So I am game to give myself 4 hours and no more to see what gets done.. thanks for the push

    1. Alene,

      I had no idea that online jigsaw puzzles were a thing. It sounds fascinating though. See, now you distracted me. Focus Renee’ Focus. Ok let me know if you reduce your work hours and how it goes. I would truly love to know.

      -Renee’

  9. As soon as I start to “multi-task” my productivity goes down the tubes! Time & energy management seem to work for me. And you’re right, the hours I work per day do decrease, but I have yet to work a 4 hour day. Totally looking forward to trying it though!

    1. Lisa,

      Well do let us know how your productivity increases here. I would love to hear how you reduced your work hours but increased what you got done. If you develop a process, let me know.

      Blog on,
      -Renee’

  10. Well I believe it, often even if you are at the computer like 7-8 hours you do not really do real efficient work for more than 4 or 5 tops. And I think there was a company in the US I read about who has shortened the work week if it was to 4 hours a day, or 3 -4 days a week, but that when the employees are there they work without distractions and get the job done in the shorter time. What I understood is they do not check the person is there in the office, but they only check the results and that the tasks are done. And I think this is a good thing. To be able to travel around on my wine events etc. sometimes I really have to focus the work to a few hours here and there and still get the things done.

    1. Katarina,

      Yes, that sounds like an incredible company to work for. We are all able to get more done in less time and we should all practice it. Just like in the story that I shared, they spent more time with family as a result. Whatever the motivation is, we all have it in us.

      Blog on,
      -Renee’

  11. I loved this post and it is so so true. Sometimes i literally shut everything off around me and concentrate on work only for 2-3 hours and get a ton of stuff done. It always amazes me and i wonder why i don’t work like that more often. 2017 is a time for change that’s for sure.

  12. This seems impossible, but I know it’s true when it comes to straightening up my house before company comes. I can do an impressive amount of cleaning in under an hour when I have to! I absolutely need to apply this to my blog hours. I need to set a timer and try to beat it. Challenge accepted! Thanks for the motivation!

  13. I can appreciate this. I was so busy at one point with my blog that looking back I think I may have shortchanged a client by always pressing up against their deadlines. They never said it’s why they moved on, but I still speculate. I should have gotten more organized sooner, instead of trying to do it all, all the time.

    1. Andi,

      Yes, this makes so much sense. Some mornings I wake up and look at all that I “want” to do and then realize it just isn’t possible. It is frustrating for us bloggers who don’t have VA’s yet.

      Blog on,
      -Renee’

  14. Eliminating distractions (like the internet) while working helps me immensely to stay focused – at least when I am writing from the heart, with no research needed. When I am getting paid to freelance write, somehow it is easier to stay focused than when I write for our own blog, that is definitely something to work on in 2017!

  15. This is fabulous! It is going to be time saving and also less stressful if work can be done half the time is it supposed to be finished. I think it is really a discipline. Nothing is really impossible.

  16. Hi Renee, Parkinson’s law is my favorite law, and so many people don’t understand how they’re wasting so much time by telling themselves it will take 30 minutes to do a 10 minute job. I use the Best Self journal which has a “no white space” where you block your time out in 30 minute segments. I find it makes me incredibly productive and for a lot of people they mistake being productive with being busy, which are two different things. Thanks for sharing your insights, it’s appreciated x

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