Sten Vesterli's Blog

Work Fewer Hours

You are working too many hours and not getting enough done. It’s gotten worse during the pandemic where people have been working even more hours from home.

Some people who get paid by the hour. For them, working more hours equates to more money. But for most IT professionals, working more hours simple means less time for the rest of your lift. Sadly, the additional hours do not create value for anyone. You can always spend extra time refactoring or attending another status meeting.

Track how many hours you work this week. Next week, work one hour less. You will find that knowing you have less time will focus your attention. You will get just as much done.

Fight for your Time

During lockdown, knowledge workers has increased the amount of time spent working by one whole hour. The average meeting is now 10 minutes longer. Clearly, fully remote working is not working for most of us.

It used to be only managers who spent their days in back-to-back meeting, but that is now the reality for many of us. A lot of the casual coordination that happened at the coffee maker or in the corridor now requires a meeting.

One way to fight back is to start scheduling shorter meetings. No online meeting needs to be a whole hour. If you schedule it for 50 minutes, you will get exactly the same amount of work done, and you will have 10 minutes to decompress before your next meeting. If you can’t get that through in your department, start putting a dummy 10-minute appointment into your calendar every hour from 10 minutes before the hour until the hour. In that way, the scheduling function will be unable to fit whole-hour meetings into you calendar, and the scheduler might get the hint and schedule only 50 minutes.