Mythbuster #1: If you thought hours worked = productivity, think again!
Are you one of those people who believe working 9 am to midnight is the way to get noticed and rise up the ranks? Are you often the first one to arrive and the last to leave and find yourself working odd hours, even after reaching back home? All in an effort to excel and shatter the glass ceiling.
If you thought working long hours equalled productivity, think again. In this era of constant connectivity, mobile phones and laptops, we are usually expected to be available 24x7, including weekends. In the short term or for projects with pressing deadlines, this might work, however, in the long run, all this can only result in one thing – burnout. But, does working long hours translate into productivity and success? Surprisingly, the answer to that question is an emphatic ‘No’. A fact that is being substantiated by a number of studies conducted recently.
Latest research attests to the fact that it is essential to maintain work-life balance and that extended work hours leads to a loss in productivity and result in mental and physical fatigue.
According to a report, 42 percent of UAE employees described their workplace as stressful. So, what is it that we can do to effectively balance work and personal life and not end up getting worked up due to long hours? The answer is simple, prioritize, plan and focus.
If you do a daily audit of the amount of time that you spend at work, you will realize that you do end up spending hours responding to emails ASAP; being part of meetings where you don’t have to be and simply surfing the web or chatting, distractions that your mind indulges in to ensure you are not spent.
Productivity does not equal to spending long hours at your desk – it is about getting your high-priority tasks done. Quit procrastinating and work out a realistic to-do list (not one that has all your low priority jobs mixed up) and start accomplishing them one by one.
Plan - tune in to your ‘Golden Hour’
It might seem incredulous, but people do have individual ‘peak productivity’ times of the day. This is the phase or the prized few hours when everything seems perfect for you all your jobs seem to get done faster. Plan your tasks in a way that you use this time to finish all complex or time-consuming tasks. If you are a freelancer, it’s even more important to manage your time well. What would help is to use Time Tracker Apps to analyse your productivity reports and taking out time for self-reflection and revaluation of time spent on particular tasks.
It’s common to lose focus and morale when working long hours. According to Gallup, about eight in ten UAE workers (85 per cent of the population) are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work. While institutional changes may take time, help out yourself with a variety of scientific planners and organizers freely available, productivity-aid apps or try some Mindfulness Meditation to stay in the moment.
Moreover, it’s an accepted fact that cell phones and social media are among the biggest productivity killers. Try using Browser blockers to keep away distractions.
Work out a balance
Finally and most importantly, there is no substitute for just switching off from time to time and actively working on a work-life balance. More and more Emirati corporates are admitting to the negative effects of a 5-6 day work week especially keeping in face of the rise in stress-related physical and psychological ailments.
Remember that more work hours do not translate into better productivity but can instead endanger your health and morale eventually hurting the company’s profits and turnovers.