I came across a statistic recently that suggested that the average office worker actually works about 90 minutes a day. A day!!! I had to read that again. 90 minutes a day.
At first you might be asking, “Where do I sign up for that job? Get paid for 8 hours but actually only work 90 minutes? Sweet”
The obvious question is what are people doing the other 6.5 hours? Apparently the rest of the workday is spent on distractions like reading the news, surfing the web, socializing with coworkers, taking coffee breaks, checking emails, playing games, and daydreaming.
In a recent post I shared what happens in the typical workplace during the “dog days of summer” and it isn’t pretty. You can read about it here.
Can we just acknowledge that the era of the open concept workplace environment was a colossal failure? Yeah it may be seen as a means to foster collaboration and team unity (or maybe just a way to save money by not building interior walls) but I’m convinced that the shift to open concept work spaces have actually contributed to a less productive work environment.
Susan Cain, the voice for introverts and the author of “Quiet; The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking” shares some insights here regarding the limitations of the new style of office management.
I think this phenomenon (working 90 minutes/day) takes a real toll on us too. Here are a few reasons why.
- Work is a good thing and being less productive can lead to discouragement and frustration
- If we aren’t putting in our best efforts, then we aren’t truly earning our paycheque
- When we don’t get our work done in the office, we may have to take time away from family and other activities to catch up
Most bosses don’t expect that their employees are going to work for 8 hours straight, without a break. Besides being illegal in most situations its not realistic either.
But making the most of our time at work to me is less about fulfilling our bosses expectations and finding fulfillment in what we do.
I think job satisfaction is hard to find if we head for home each night with a gnawing feeling in our gut that we just didn’t give it our best. Or that we didn’t accomplish anything of significance.
So how can we make the most of our time at work (which can also free us up to make the most of our time out of work).
- See work as a stewardship issue. Like everything else in our lives, like our homes, our money, our belongings, our time and our relationships, we have a responsibility to manage our time at work as well.
- See work as a reflection of our relationship with God. The meaning of all we do, including our work changes when we see it as a spiritual thing, not just a task we have to complete to pay bills.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23
- Break down work into smaller chunks of time. I’ve been trying to do this regularly and seeing good results. In fact I think you can accomplish more in a 90 minute window of time than you can all day if you do it well.
- Limit your distractions during your 90 minute window. Avoid email, social media and people unless they are crucial to what you’re working on in that time.
- Break down your work into smaller steps or tasks. Procrastination is often a result of being overwhelmed with the big project or final goal. Set clear steps to getting to the finish line.
- Take a break. When your 90 minutes are up, stop. Take a break. Go for a walk. Get a drink. Stretch. Talk to someone. Take a nap. Then after 15-30 minutes, prepare for the next 90 minutes.
If you simply block off two 90 minute time slots for focused, purposeful work, you will be more productive than most of your co-workers. Don’t rub it in their face though. You don’t want your car keyed in the parking lot. But…
- You will get more done.
- You will feel better about yourself and the work you do.
- You will have greater capacity to be present at home…rather than being preoccupied with what you didn’t get done at the office, you can arrive home ready to embrace your family.
What would it do to your work life (and home life) if you were able to block off 2-90 minute windows of time? For starters, you’d be twice as productive as the average worker. Suppose you had a super productive day and blocked off 5-90 minutes windows of time. You’d accomplish a week’s worth of work in one day. Maybe taking Fridays off in the summer becomes a possibility. Who knows.
Imagine what you could get done, 90 minutes at at time.
The key to having a more productive day starts with 90 minutes. Make the most of them and see where it takes you.
Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.