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Working smart as habit of champions

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[FILE] Quest of knowledge and skills acquisition

During the 20-month lull between the end of my primary school and entry to high school, I learned many lessons.

During that period, I traversed many libraries in Ilobu and Osogbo in quest of knowledge and skills acquisition.

At that time, working long hours with voluntary associations taught me that working more isn’t always the right or only path to success. With me, working less actually produced better results.

Consider a small business owner who works nonstop daily. Working hard won’t help him compete with his competitors, because time is a limited resource.

An entrepreneur could work 24/7, but his competitor can easily outpace him by spending more money in assembling a team working on the same project.

Then why have small startups accomplished feats that larger corporations couldn’t? Facebook bought Instagram, a company with 13 employees at the time, for $1billion.

Snapchat, a startup with 30 employees, was turning down offers from Facebook and Google. The mainstay of each of their successes was based on efficiency.

Thus, the key to success is not working hard; it is working smart. There is a clear distinction between being busy and being productive. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you are being productive.

In spite of what some might believe, being productive is less about time management and more on managing your energy. It is learning how to spend the least amount of time to get the most benefits.

I personally learned how to reduce my work- week from 80 hours to 40 hours and get a lot more work done in the process.

For me, the less I spend sitting for work, the more I achieve by identifying what is to done now.

Here are things I stopped doing to become more productive. One, stop working overtime and increase your productivity instead.

Have you ever wondered where the five-day, 40 hour working week came from? It started in 1926 after the American industrialist and Founder of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, conducted an experiment with his own staff.

Ford decreased his staff’s daily hours from 10 to eight and shortened the work-week from six days to five. As a result, he saw his workers’ productivity increase.

The more you work, the less effective and productive you become over time, says a 1980 report from The Business Roundtable: “Where a work schedule of 60 or more hours is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of reduced productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realised with the same crew size on a 40-hour week.”

In an article in AfterNet, Sara Robinson referenced research conducted in the United States (US) military, which revealed that “losing just one hour of sleep per night for a week will cause a level of cognitive degradation equivalent to a .10 blood alcohol level.”

In a book, The Secret World of Sleep, it was said that irrespective of how well you were able to get on with your day after that most recent night without sleep, it is unlikely that you felt especially upbeat and joyous about the world.

Your unusually negative perspective will have resulted from a generalised low mood, which is a normal consequence of being overtired.

More importantly, this mindset is often accompanied by decreases in willingness to think and act proactively. Thus, it is important for us not to overwork ourselves and get enough sleep to maintain a high level of productivity.

The next time you are wondering why you may not be working productively, reason may be simple as you being deprived of adequate sleep.

A sleep expert and researcher, James Maas, revealed that at least seven out of every 10 Americans don’t get enough sleep.

Did you know that the greatest painter of all time, Leonardo da Vinci, took multiple naps a day and slept less at night? The French emperor, Napoleon, was not shy about taking naps; he indulged in it daily.

Though the inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, was embarrassed about his napping habit, he practised it as a ritual on a daily basis.

US President John Kennedy ate his launch in bed and then settled for a nap everyday. Source for those facts is the book, 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap by Michael Hyatt.

Since I started getting eight hours of sleep each night, I have become a lot more productive.

I have got a lot more work done, in comparison to when I worked 16 hours a day. Who knew sleeping was such a great tool for writers?


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