For many of us, the five-day, 40-hour workweek is a distant memory. But you don’t want to risk burning yourself out. One way to avoid longer hours in the office is to prioritize your time and redefine your workplace parameters. Here are some ways to make your workdays shorter and more productive:
- Limit phone calls. When under the gun, accept only important calls. Just be sure to return missed calls within 24 hours.
- Call at choice times of the day. Initiate phone calls just before lunch, or near the close of the day when the other party is more likely to keep the conversation brief.
- Handle a piece of paper only once and act on it immediately. Don’t move it from one pile to another.
- Follow an agenda. When a telephone conversation or meeting digresses, bring it back around—promising to discuss the other issues later.
- Work from a to-do list. Take 10 minutes each morning and list everything you need to accomplish. Check items off as they’re completed.
- Get organized. Maintain clearly marked files, and stop wasting precious time searching for misplaced documents.
- Recognize your peak energy times. Do the tough tasks when your energy level is at its highest. Save routine work for low points of the day.