By Paris Love
Work hard, play hard, sleep fast?
It’s a phrase that has been a mantra for college students, an excuse for overwork in corporate culture, and even a song topic in country singer Gretchen Wilson’s 2009 ditty Work Hard, Play Harder. During tough economic times everyone seems to be working harder to pick up the financial slack and the stress of financial challenges often results in playing harder, with little time left for rest.
Not such a good idea
Putting in long hours and working very hard as a way of life has its merits, of course, but there is a problem: It’s also a certain road to burnout. Playing hard, in the form of burning the candle at both ends is also….. a certain road to burnout. And the problem with sleeping fast…well, you get the picture.
Unless you want to come crashing to a halt in all areas of your life, work hard, play hard, sleep fast isn’t the road to a productive and rewarding life. In fact, the science says your work deteriorates when you don’t get perspective and rest. Evidence also indicates over work contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, immune system weakening and obesity. And as for sleep, there is very strong support that sleep deprivation causes poor judgment, degraded memory, and on the job performance issues.
Work smarter, not harder
A better approach? Work smart. Believe it or not, you are not doing better work just because you work long hours.
Continue 2014 with a new philosophy that will make you more productive and healthier emotionally and physically. Here are some starter guidelines to help you begin your work smarter journey:
Streamline your work flow: Taking the time now to figure out where you are duplicating work, wasting time and just not efficient will pay off with higher productivity results. If you are running a business, you may need to get some professional help with this process, as an outsider can see things you can’t.
Delegate: All those tasks that are non-income producing, boring, repetitive or you just aren’t good at can be delegated to someone on your team or someone you contract with part time. For example, if you don’t like to write, then contract with a copy writer to do it for you or have a staff or team member do the job, then you edit.
Plan ahead: Everything I’ve read about taking just a half hour a day to plan for the next day and week shows that this technique yields positive results. Your goal is to be the boss of your work, not your work be the boss of you.
Be proactive: Most work problems don’t arrive unexpected. They start as a little thing, maybe an intuitive thought, or one disgruntled client, then grow. Don’t wait until the problem is so large it becomes untenable. Catch it early or prevent it all together with a proactive rather than reactive stance.
Think before acting: Every action has a reaction, so think through your plans, programs and actions in business before you act. Assess risks and benefits quickly, then make your decision.
I’ll be sharing information about how you can work smarter through the effective use of time management, productivity and organization in your life – watch for more in upcoming postings and programs I’ll be sharing with you!
Paris Love is a Productivity and Organizational Consultant specializing in helping overextended professionals strive for a better quality of life infused with meaningful work, wealth, good health and well being. Paris has written articles for NAPO News, Star Lee Magazine, Baldwin Parent, San Diego NAPO News, Organizing A to Z, BrownSkin Magazine, Online Organizing and Home Base Quarterly. You can catch Paris on A & E “Hoarders” where she helps a family in crisis. Her most recent book, Fifty Tips to Get You Organized in Ten Minutes or Less and Growing Pains, along with more information on her life’s work and business can be found at www.ParisLoveInstitute.com or by calling 770-722-2748.