Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Rayi Christian/Unsplash

In today's 24/7 world, is the 40-hour workweek still possible or is it a pipe dream?

It is absolutely possible; you just need to work smarter, not harder.

In my role as VP of Communications at Porch.com, a home-improvement network, I communicate this philosophy to my team along with the importance of adopting work-life balance principles.

Story continues below advertisement

So how can other businesses implement these ideologies? They need to have a plan of action.

To help people crack the code for how to create an efficient and impactful 40-hour workweek, here are four methods to set a course for successfully working smarter, not harder.

1. Ignore the visibility trap.Over the years I have observed one consistent action that extends their workweek well beyond 40-hours: The never ending quest for visibility. The No. 1 sign you are stuck in the visibility trap is you are going to too many meetings and particularly meetings you don't really need to go to. Why is this trap so common? I have found that many people may feel left out or left behind if they are not at every meeting with their colleagues. Ignore this trap. I know it can be hard, but if you are in meetings, chances are you are not working.

How do you ignore this? Meetings are expensive so don't spend valuable minutes in meetings you don't really need to be in. Do a hardcore audit of your meetings. What is being discussed in the meeting that you can't get after the fact? Does the meeting really need to be 60 minutes or can it be 30 minutes? What are the goals of the meeting? If a meeting does not have a structured agenda, clear roles for participants and a set of desired outcomes, it is probably not going to be a great use of your time.

2. Outcomes over activities. Throughout the day you need to ask yourself, are you producing tangible outcomes or are you just participating in activities that you think are important? If you don't have any goals in mind for the week, you won't know if you are on track and driving actual value to the business. When this happens you also won't have clarity, predictability or know if the week was truly a success (and if you spent your time on the right things).

How do you do this? Set up weekly priorities and stick to them. Communicate daily with your manager to ensure you are always on the right track and your week is setup for success. Are you getting the right support and resources? Do things need to change on the priority list? Have a conversation on Monday to set the table for the week. When you get to Friday, how will you know that the week was a success? If you focus on the outcomes over activities you are halfway there.

More from Entrepreneur.com

Story continues below advertisement

3. Your ARE the Boss of You.Only you can truly control the fate of your week. Yes, things come up that you can't plan for, but if you are focused on working with your manager on the right outcomes, you will have the air cover you need to stay focused on the task at hand. If you allow people to pull you off on the wrong path you will lose focus. Pick your spots, leverage the help of others, and control your day in a way that keeps you in the driver's seat.

How do you do this? At the beginning of the day take a serious look at the day ahead. What MUST get done? What needs to happen to hit your daily goals? If you feel randomized call a time-out and reassess how you will carve up your time for the rest of the day.

4. Fly above the noise.When you need to truly get work done nothing matters more than finding a way to fly about the noise. You can easily fall behind if you are spending too much time chatting in the hallways with colleagues, taking extended lunches, getting wrapped up in conversations and other activities that pull you away from the task at hand.

How do you do this? Stay heads down. Stay off Facebook and Twitter. Don't get wrapped up in the gossip chains. Ignore the shiny objects. If you can do that you are well on your way to maximizing out your workweek to produce great results.

Copyright © 2014 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Follow Report on Small Business on Pinterest and Instagram
Join our Small Business LinkedIn group
Add us to your circles
Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies