The One Ingredient You Need to Work Less This Year
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With a new year come new resolutions, and while many people are vowing to work harder on their goals, there are some of us who are trying to work, well, less.
Working less doesn’t mean earning less, of course. I’m talking about hour for hour changing your life so that you have time to do more of the things you enjoy and less of the things you don’t.
Working less the right way is more about streamlining your life so you make the same amount of income or more but you aren’t sitting at your desk wasting time every day. It also means working less on your home, working less on cleaning the kitchen and working less on trying to please everyone.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
The One Ingredient You Need
The truth is, there is only one ingredient you need to work less in both your personal and professional life this year; one simple, little tinnnnyyy ingredient. Unfortunately, this ingredient is harder to find and harder to muster than it seems because all you need to do is focus.
In fact, the word FOCUS is my word of the year. I’m so tired of feeling scattered. I know I did some great work in 2016 but the truth is, my house continues to be a disaster. I still feel like I spend most of the weekends cleaning up the mess from the week, and that’s embarrassing because I work at home every single day!
I also had moments in 2016 where I turned away work because I had too much on my plate, but now I’m wondering if I could have found the time. After all, every single one of us wastes time because very few of us know how to focus these days.
I know my weakness. It’s social media. I’m a typical millennial who works in digital media and loves to be on it during the day. In fact, I use a Mac app called Self Control every time I work at my desk, and the only thing I ask the app to do is ban Facebook. (It’s astonishing how many times I try to go to Facebook while I’m working only for my computer to tell me access is denied.)
My other distractions are two tiny tornadoes also known as my toddler twins. Although I have a babysitter come four days a week so I can work in my home office, I want to make more of a commitment to work in a coffee shop from time to time during the week or in a co-working space.
Sometimes, working at home doesn’t really encourage me to focus. It’s too familiar and there are too many distractions, like chores and paperwork and bills that I’m in charge of. There seems to be no separation from family business and work business.
I use a good chunk of my work time organizing our money, making doctor’s appointments and helping my husband with tasks that he just can’t do because of his work hours. I’d like to have more dedicated and focused work time where I don’t allow myself to do anything else but blog.
We often write about being minimalists on this blog, but I don’t think many people realize how a minimalist lifestyle automatically translates to working less at household chores.
A really simple example can be found when examining how many times you’re overwhelmed with the dishes in your kitchen. When my kids were infants, someone told me that I was overwhelmed because I had too many bottles. I’d spend every evening washing a dozen bottles. She told me if I just had two bottles, one for each kid, I’d just wash it out each time they needed more milk and I wouldn’t be left with a pile of bottles to scrub at the end of each day. I think the same goes for dishes, cups and more.
In sum, having more stuff creates more work. Raise your hand if you’ve ever waited to do the laundry until you’ve worn everything in you closet only to be overwhelmed with seven loads over the weekend. Yeah, me too.
Ultimately, by taking the time to eliminate some of your possessions, you can make less housework for yourself. By being honest with yourself and realizing your weaknesses (i.e. Facebook) you can take the steps to eliminate those distractions so you can work harder and not longer. By having your word of the year be FOCUS, like it is for me, you can take each task one at a time and not lose productivity by switching tasks.
The truth is, you can work less and stress less in both your personal and professional life. You just need to have a strong control over how you spend your time. This is something I’m working on this year.
What’s your big goal for 2017? How do you balance work life and home life? What do you find yourself wasting the most time on? What distractions keep you from accomplishing your goals or ticking tasks off your to do list?