Sweden. The very name conjures images of yodeling shepherd women and…wait, no that’s Germany. Ah yes, the majestic fjords of…hold on, that’s Norway. White sandy beaches sounds more Caribbean-y. What’s Sweden known for, anyway?
Well, according to this article, Sweden is best known as the place trying to figure out how to help people work as little as possible. In an effort to combat a fatigue, poor health, and poor productivity, a hospital in Sweden is conducting a 22-month experiment where its nurses are – get this – being asked to work less. Because as it turns out, some recent research has suggested that fewer working hours are actually correlated to more productivity than the 40-60 hour weeks most of us are so familiar with.
You probably can’t convince your boss to conduct a government-sponsored research study just to get out of working a few extra hours every day. But you can get more done in less time than you currently are.
Pick Up The Phone More Often
Simple questions that require a simple answer can be handled with texts. Fleshing your thoughts out is often best done on paper or through email. But with complicated issues, you’ll often accomplish more in a single phone call than you would in a dozen emails. The phone is also the best way to get someone’s semi-undivided attention these days (short of standing directly in front of them and blocking their line-of-sight, of course), which means you’ll often get the answers you’re looking for faster than if you have to wait for their email response. But don’t worry – you can always pretend to be in a tunnel and hang up on someone if the sound of their voice on the other end of the phone is too scary to handle.
Our brain is not designed to go at full-speed for 16 hours. I am quite certain that you have felt yourself slowing down mentally from time to time, and occasionally you’ve caught yourself staring at your computer without accomplishing anything at all. That’s OK, as long as you recognize what it means – that your brain needs a break. So give it one. A 20-minute nap will help you reset mentally so that you can return to work with renewed vigor. Or with vigor in the first place. Or pick a word other than ‘vigor’ that conveys the same idea. You get what I’m saying. I’m tired. I’m going to go take a nap.
Set Your Phone Out of Physical Reach
This is one of the ways you should pick up your phone, by the way – to place it somewhere you can’t easily grab it whenever you feel like it. A recent study of college students found that they checked their phones 85 times a day, which is twice as often as they thought they were doing. We can’t accomplish tasks quickly when we’re constantly distracting ourselves from those tasks.
Hopefully this helps. I still think you should try to work fewer hours. Four a day sounds good. There was this one guy who got famous with his four-hour workweek. And zero also seems nice. Retired folks look pretty happy, wouldn’t you say? If only I knew how they landed that gig…