The guiding word for my year is Rest, as a result, I plan to work less in 2020. This might sound like I want to cop out on my job or only do the bare minimum. But, in seeking to work less, I want to maximise the time I have for work and become more efficient.
In 2019, I felt like I spent all my time working. As a freelancer, remote worker and student, it is often hard to create boundaries between work time and personal time. It is like living in your office 24/7, especially if you work from home. And if you are like me, who gets distracted easily, what should be a 20-hour workweek turns into 60 hours and then some for weekends. I feel like this defeats the flexibility a remote job should grant you.
How I Plan To Work Less In 2020
When I decided to work less this year, I had to take out time to figure out why I was working all the time. After I did this, it became easier to set a plan on how to do better.
- Set a time for work.
I already mentioned that I am a remote worker. For my company, we have deliverables assigned each day within a semi-flexible time frame. This is a huge advantage that I abused instead of using well. For instance, I had no specific time I would begin work. So I had gaps of time unaccounted for and many nights spent working.
Now, I want to work from 7 am-2 pm per day because I tend to be more productive in the mornings. I plan to block out this specific time to research, write and edit my work on our CMS. This gives me enough time for my Team Lead to look through my work and give me notes on extra edits. Also, I get some extra time to work on my thesis or something else.
- Block the things that steal my time
I get distracted easily and I find it hard to do too much brain work at the same time. When I start working on one thing, I have to put all my attention into it. Instead, I keep procrastinating. My work often involves curating content from social media, and it’s like a black hole for me there. My laptop depends on my phone for internet connection which means I tend to keep it nearby and pick it up more often. I intend to buy a router or use one of my modems for working. This way I don’t depend on my phone a lot while working. Besides, Instagram is not fun when used on the web.
- Experiment with time techniques
I have been looking at some time management techniques, especially Pomodoro. With Pomodoro, you work for 25 minutes and give yourself short breaks of 15 minutes. I don’t know how effective this will be for me, I might turn my 15-minute break to 1 hour. But, I’d try it. I am also testing out other time techniques and I will document how it goes on the blog, so look out for the posts.
- Try to work as manually as possible
I am such a list maker! I love writing to-do lists which used to be quite effective until I started using apps. A typical day now goes like this- I wake up, (rarely)meditate, pick up my phone to make a list, check emails, follow links to articles, check Instagram, check the time, it’s noon! So I am going back to my trusty jotter for to-dos.
- Work smart
The days I worked smarter always ended better than days I felt like I was toiling. This was possible because I clearly identified my priorities and how to get there. And it felt so good. To achieve my plan to work less, I need to engage in smart processes that make my life easier.
Why Working Less Is Necessary
I believe in having a healthy work-life balance. It is not healthy for your mental health if your work keeps creeping into your life and vice versa. It’s like being on a hamster wheel. At the same time, I believe that whatever work you need to do should be done well.
If you are working in a place where you feel you have no time to breathe, it could lead to resentment which WILL reflect in your work. Everyone has a different reason to carve out more time. It could be to spend time with your family, hang out with friends, volunteer to a cause you believe in or whatever gives you pleasure and contributes to your well being. I haven’t exactly got a hang of this but I am very willing to try.
Do you plan to work less in 2020? If you have more suggestions on how to be productive with the hours you have, I would love to hear them in the comments.