When the pressure rises, our instincts tell us to ‘Work harder!’ But what if we’ve got it all wrong? These tips can help you take a more effective approach instead of pointlessly racking up the hours.
Let’s imagine we’re just a few weeks away from a critical deadline. Management is getting anxious. As a project manager, you tell them that your team is going to have to work 20 hours a day to finish everything on time.
4pm: We need to get a version of the client’s software up and running by tomorrow morning.
5pm: Last minute fixes. Everyone gets busy.
6.30pm: Everyone goes home except for two co-workers who will get everything ready for tomorrow morning.
7pm: Surprise – it’s the wrong version! The whole project is now on hold: everything is delayed because of an oversight.
Working 20 hours a day? Pointless – or even counterproductive.
This morning, I read that 20% of workplace accidents happen to people who sleep fewer than 7 hours a night and work more than 50 hours a week. Maybe it’s time to shift the paradigm.
A few pointers:
Limit the number of hours worked in a row
Take the time to prioritise tasks
Start with the most important tasks
Be a pessimist when scheduling – leave time for unexpected issues
Opt for quality over quantity
Take regular breaks
And most importantly, don’t give in to panic. It’s always better to do less but to do it well!
What about you ? Do you have similar or different experiences? Let me know, I'll be happy to discuss it with you!
Artwork : Mélanie Bénard Tremblay, 2019, © Marakoudja.