Hate being at the office? You’re not alone. Here are few tips that can help you spend less time at your desk AND get more done at the same time.
Confession time: I’m probably one of the laziest people you’ll ever meet. Some people thrive on being in the office all day, getting sh*t done, but not me. If I had any choice in the matter, I’d spend all day at home, watching Netflix or reading a really good novel as I drink cheap sparkling white wine straight from the bottle.
But a modern independent woman’s gotta make a living, so I still manage to produce somewhat passable output. How? The trick is in strategic, productive laziness.
Our brains weren’t meant to process information for 12 hours a day with barely any breaks. If you’ve noticed the quality of your output suffering as the day wears on, that’s because your brain—like your body—gets tired as well. (If you can work for hours at a time on something that requires a lot of mental energy, please tell me your secret.)
Laziness gets a bad rap. I know plenty of people who seem to get a masochistic brand of pride from being busy all the time, but there's laziness, and there's productive laziness. I’d go as far as to say that productive laziness is the root of innovation. Lazy people just want to get work done as quickly as possible so that we can go straight to doing things we actually want to do.
So basically, you can actually get more things done by doing less. How? Read on to find out.
Use something like the Pomodoro technique, which lets you work for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. Take one long break (30 minutes-1 hour) a day. These breaks will let your mind rest, so that when you go back to your desk, you’ll be able to focus more on the task at hand.
Don’t spend your 5-minute break scrolling through your social media feeds or watching YouTube videos. We all know how a 5-minute break can quickly turn into 30 minutes when you’re on a distracting website, so that’s just not a good idea.
Much has been said and written about the benefits of a good walk, so take one. If it’s too hot and humid outside, just a 5-minute walk around the office will do you good. Get yourself a cup of coffee. Chat with a colleague about Game of Thrones theories. Our bodies weren’t built to sit in front of a computer all day, so get moving.
Sometimes, a task will need your absolute dedication, and you’ll have to work extra hours to get it right. You can’t avoid that. But there are some tasks that you don’t have to be on top of all the time. For example, do you really have to reply to every single email in your inbox? Is that meeting really necessary? If you feel that slacking off a little won’t impact your work (or anyone else’s), you can afford to let the task wait, or even let it go entirely.
I’m not advising you to do just the very bare minimum to get by—not only is that one sure way to piss off your colleagues, you’ll also be robbing yourself of the opportunity to develop your skills and value in the workforce.
But we should stop equating being busy with being productive. You could spend 10 hours at your desk and get barely anything done, but if you work smartly, you could go tick off your entire to-do list before your lunch break.