Don’t work harder, work smarter

We’ve all had that moment, where we catch ourselves exaggerating how we were awake late into the night relentlessly pouring over our work.

This gives the illusion to our peers of great productiveness when really, you know you could have gotten that work done much sooner without all that gazing into the distance and those snack breaks. The solution-work smarter not harder. Instead of viewing productivity through how long you spent working, view it through how much you actually produce.

“The presumptive notion that longer work hours lead to greater productivity is a fallacy,” K. Anders Ericson Ph.D said in a newsletter to Healthline. “People push themselves to the point where they will have problems.”

Nowadays many companies, including Netflix, have begun viewing employee productivity as the quality produced at the end of the day and an employee’s overall value to the company instead of who stayed at the office longest. Gone are the days where you received brownie points for those late nights. No matter how hard you work, and if your productivity isn’t up to par, you’re fired.

It sounds harsh, however; if you apply a similar mindset to school you’d get a lot more done. Every minute would be applied to something useful, resulting in faster finishing times and more time for you, be it improving your finished work or improving on your personal mental health.

According to an article in the New York Times, “Economic anxiety about the future and the high cost of college now (which can top $70,000 a year at private schools) puts great stress on students who worry that a grade of B may ruin their career chances or disappoint their parents who are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

More time for yourself means a decreased likelihood of experiencing burnout at the end of the semester. Through greater productivity, you’ll feel more accomplished and relieve some of the academic stress students face.

Give yourself time slots, and you’re more inclined to make every minute count and finish within that period. People often give the argument they don’t know how much time an assignment will take. But if you give yourself too much time, it will take too much time, thus inaccurately proving your own point to yourself in your mind.

Another thought to keep in mind which can be readily applied is from Thomas Oppong, who writes for The Mission, “Each task of the day should be attainable, realistic, and time-bound. The time constraint will push you to focus and be more efficient.”

The cutting of hours within establishments generates the same concept of setting a specific time in which work must get done, allowing employees to have extra time within their day.

The effects of working smarter can be seen through shorter hours within the work week. When company employees attempt to produce the same or more within less hours of work, they generate more success and greater happiness.

For example, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Sahlgrenska University Hospital switched 89 doctors and nurses in their orthopedics unit to a 6 hour work week to combat absenteeism and burnout according to an article in the New York Times.

The hospital’s executive director, Anders Hyltander, told the New York Times the unit was performing 20 percent more surgeries and the surgery waiting times shortened from months to weeks.

With setting a dedicated time and creating more free time for yourself, you’re creating a healthier mindset and better academic career. Try it out for yourself and see how it works for you!