Got Time for a 40-Hour Work Week?

January 20, 2012
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In this “quicker and faster” day and age, is a 40 hour week enough to do all the things that are expected of us? Some surveys show that the average workweek has actually decreased to 39.2 hours. With less, rather than more, time, how could we possibly be completing all our work and getting the job done? How many of us find ourselves working weeknights at home or on weekends just to keep up? What caused this bottleneck of work in the first place?

For one thing, technology plays a major factor in this phenomenon of increased expectations. Laptops, cellular Internet connections, Blackberrys, instant messaging, all play a significant role in higher productivity in the workplace. People are on their Blackberrys and iPhones wherever they may be, negating the need to be in their offices or at their computers to be connected to their business anymore. They can now access email from virtually anywhere. And this increases the expectations for immediate responses.

What does all this mean for companies’ old time method of clocking hours? Successful productivity really should now be based on objectives being met, rather then what the obsolescent time card shows. Here are some suggestions for managing your time both inside and outside the office from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana:

Don’t overbook — This may seem unusual to people who try to jam as much as possible into every workday. The problem is: Things rarely go according to a prearranged agenda. That means a lot of time falling through the cracks chasing down appointments, unreturned phone calls and other items that simply aren’t going to happen.

Prioritize ruthlessly — The secret to booking your time effectively boils down to knowing what’s important and what can wait. Negotiate longer lead times whenever you can and don’t give into the “instant-and-immediate answer” syndrome. Treating everything as top priority is draining and depleting, not to mention impossible anyway.

Learn how to say no — One of the biggest land mines to effective time management is recognizing you don’t have to agree to everything and with everyone. Use your priority criteria to identify requests that simply aren’t worth your time. Saying no to one thing opens the door to saying yes to something else. That can mean anything from cleaning my desk to getting a good night’s sleep.

Organize — Bringing your time into line isn’t just a matter of scheduling. The mechanics of how you operate can be every bit as important. That means organizing most every element to allow as smooth a workflow as possible. Everything in your business should be set up using logical systems so anyone needing anything can find it when they need it.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo credit: renjith krishnan

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