Smashing the 9-5 Myth: A Summer Experiment
When it comes to work-life balance, most entrepreneurs get stuck in the grind, juggling multiple responsibilities while feeling perpetually behind the eight-ball. That was me, too, until I changed my approach to time and task management over the summer. In this blog post, I'll unpack what I learned and share actionable steps to help you streamline your workweek and reclaim some much-needed "you" time.
Breaking the Corporate Mold:
Like many entrepreneurs, I was a slave to the 9-to-5 corporate mentality—even while running my own business. Research has shown that 76% of people struggle to disengage from work during their time off. Similarly, I found myself clocking in around 55-60 hours a week, unable to shake the feeling of guilt whenever I tried to step away from my desk.
The Four-Day Work Week Experiment:
Inspired by productivity studies from Europe that found a four-day workweek boosted productivity by up to 40%, I decided to give it a try. For three months, I averaged a 30-35 hour workweek, a stark contrast to my usual 55-60 hours. The result? Surprisingly, my productivity didn't drop; it soared.
The Art of Time-Blocking:
One effective technique I adopted was time-blocking, a method where you allocate specific times for specific tasks. This prevented me from getting lost in the whirlwind of emails and immediate needs, allowing me to focus on high-priority items.
Tip: To start, try using the "Pomodoro Technique," which advocates for 25-minute intervals of focused work followed by 5-minute breaks.
Taming the Email Beast:
Dealing with emails can be a productivity killer. According to a report by McKinsey, people spend about 28% of their workweek reading and answering emails. My solution was integrating my inbox with Asana, thereby turning each email into a manageable task. It added just 15 minutes to my daily routine but drastically cut down my inbox time.
Dividing and Conquering:
Clear accountability is key. My team and I divided tasks based on our respective strengths and areas of expertise, making sure that everyone had a well-defined scope of responsibility. This helped us avoid overlap and redundancies, leading to a more streamlined workflow.
Workspace and Digital Detox:
Studies suggest that changing your work environment can boost productivity by up to 16%. I took this to heart and chose to work from a co-working space, providing a dedicated work environment free from home distractions. I also used an app called Opal to block social media and shopping apps during work hours, freeing my mind from unnecessary distractions.
Last but not least, shedding the shackles of traditional corporate hours was a mental game-changer. It allowed me to be flexible with my time, leading to a healthier balance between work and life.
By adopting a four-day workweek, using tools like Asana for task management, and setting clear boundaries for both my team and myself, I achieved a fulfilling and more balanced work-life. So can you!
If you have tips or hacks that have helped you achieve a better work-life balance, I’d love to hear them! Reach out to me on Instagram or LinkedIn.