The 20 Hour Work Week: Working Smarter Not Harder

Can you image what your life would be like if you only had to work 20 hours in a week? You could hit the links and go golfing with some friends, or catch a matinee movie, or even hit the gym before the after work craze. Its safe to say that working less hours would lead to a much higher standard of living and enjoyment for life.

Studies show that an average person works approximately 47 hours in a workweek with 20% of these people working more then 60 hours a week. According to a Harvard Business review, people often work outside of their jobs because they feel the need to prove that they are valuable to companies. However, these extra hours of work don’t necessarily result in getting more work done. Working longer hours can actually lead to health issues and burnout, which can have a serious impact on productivity.

In Sweden many organizations are making huge moves to reduce the number of hours employees work in a week. The results are leading to healthier staff, increased work efficiency and less errors. If this is the way of the future, then sign me up! Maybe it is not 100% realistic to expect organizations will implement this framework anytime soon, but hey! a girl can dream! However there are definitely things you can do to be more efficient and increase productivity, which may get you a ticket home earlier. Here are some tips on how you can work smarter not harder.


Its important that your work space is organized and uncluttered. A neat and tidy desk will help clear your mind and allow you to focus on the tasks at hand. Keeping your files, schedules, documents, folders and office supplies neatly organized will help you find the things you need faster.


Start your workweek by creating a broad list of jobs and tasks you need to accomplish within that particular week. Once your workweek task list is completed, start each of your days by setting a daily “to-do” list of everything you want to accomplish within that specific day. Make sure your list is realistic and everything can be completed within that time frame. If there is an important task that can’t make the list, put it on your weekly list to be tackled on another day that week.

Remove Distractions:

Social media can be our best friend and our worst nightmare when it comes to being productive at work. If you are in a workplace with a company phone, turn your personal cell-phone off or on silent to help reduce your distractions. You would actually be surprised by the amount of time a person actually spends a day checking their phones. If you are up for a little experiment, pick a workday and keep track of the amount of times you look at your phone or use it for personal use while you’re on the clock.


News flash! Mono-tasking is the new multi-tasking. Studies show that people are more productive tackling one task at a time than multiple items at once. Mono-tasking allows you to focus on the task at hand while devoting all your energy to one specific item resulting in a faster completion time. Mono-tasking can also help make tasks more exciting by challenging yourself on how fast you can complete them! Set a time frame for each task and see if you can beat the clock!

These four easy tips will help you make the most out of your workday and could help reduce the need for overtime. Maybe if you show your boss that you’ve accomplished all your tasks, they’ll let you cut out early for that afternoon Yoga class!

If you are looking for more ways to increase productivity in your workplace, Salopek & Associates can help! Contact us to see how we can help you with your performance management to ensure your business is running efficiently.

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