How to Work Less

May 31, 2023
Posted in Questions
May 31, 2023 Terkel

How to Work Less

To help you find the perfect balance between work and productivity, we’ve gathered insights from 15 CEOs, founders, and HR professionals on how they’ve managed to work less without losing productivity. From delegating tasks to overcoming perfectionism, discover the strategies these experts have employed to maintain efficiency in their jobs.

  • Delegate Tasks
  • Schedule Breaks
  • Let AI Plan Your Day
  • Focus on Mission-Critical Tasks
  • Enforce Healthy Boundaries
  • Automate Repetitive Tasks
  • Work Fewer Days
  • Develop Helpful Skills
  • Use Time Blocking
  • Employ Outsourcing
  • Rely on Prioritization
  • Implement the Pomodoro Technique
  • Embrace Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Combine Powerful Techniques
  • Overcome Perfectionism

Delegate Tasks

Working less doesn’t necessarily mean losing productivity. In fact, it can often lead to increased productivity and better results. One thing I have done to work less is to delegate tasks to others. As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to want to do everything yourself and be in control of every aspect of your business. However, this is not sustainable in the long run and can lead to burnout.

By delegating tasks to others, I have been able to free up my time to focus on the things that matter most to the growth of my business. This has allowed me to be more strategic in my decision-making and to work on high-level projects that have a bigger impact.

Matthew RamirezMatthew Ramirez
CEO, Paraphrasing Tool

Schedule Breaks

Every few hours, I schedule a simple activity where I move and think. This includes gardening, going for a short walk, and sometimes simple things like putting away laundry. The point is to walk away from the screen and into an activity that uses more than my fingers.

Jason VaughtJason Vaught
Director of Content, SmashBrand

Let AI Plan Your Day

AI has enabled me to take advantage of advanced planning methods that maximize efficiency while still allowing for brief breaks throughout the day.

For example, I use the AI-based calendar planner called Motion, which can automatically adjust my schedule based on factors like deadlines and estimated task duration, meaning I don’t have as much guesswork when allocating resources toward completing projects. It even sends reminders when tasks are due so I don’t forget about them and reschedules them for me if I couldn’t complete them for some reason!

Roksana BieleckaRoksana Bielecka
Community Manager, ResumeHelp

Focus on Mission-Critical Tasks

As an entrepreneur and SEO agency owner for over eight years, I’ve learned that the key to scaling your business is making the most of your time. Focus on mission-critical tasks, like optimizing our content and partnership strategies. Delegate the rest to my talented team.

Success is about working smarter, not harder. We identify our highest leverage activities and projects to support clients and growth, then minimize everything else. Define your priorities, focus with intention, and avoid distractions.

At the end of the day, no one cares about your productivity metrics or how many hours you worked—only your results. We’ve built our agency’s success by doubling down on what matters most and eliminating the rest. Work less, achieve more, and build something great—that’s the vision that keeps our team motivated as we continue gaining new clients through our work over the years.

Bowen KhongBowen Khong
CEO, GameDayr

Enforce Healthy Boundaries

As a small business owner, my day ends when the work is done, not when the clock strikes five. When I became a father, there were suddenly many more demands on my time that forced me to really focus on my productivity. You know that a nap will only be so long or that my kid needs to be picked up at a certain time.

These constraints on my time forced me to be hyper-focused during the limited number of hours I have available. And it’s worked. I’ve turned this increased productivity into business growth.

Temmo KinoshitaTemmo Kinoshita
Co-founder, Lindenwood Marketing

Automate Repetitive Tasks

I’ve learned that the key to working less without losing productivity is to automate repetitive tasks. By using tools such as scripts, macros, and other automation tools, I’m able to save hours of time and minimize errors.

For example, I use scripts to automatically deploy code changes and run tests, and macros to streamline document creation. I also use AI-powered tools to help me organize my inbox and schedule meetings. By eliminating these repetitive and time-consuming tasks, I can focus on more important work and achieve better results.

Jefferson McCallJefferson McCall
Co-founder and HR Head, TechBullish

Work Fewer Days

It sounds counterintuitive, but working fewer days has made me more productive. I stopped working Fridays, which made me think carefully about the clients I wanted to take on and the type of work I was doing.

With fewer hours in my work week, I have to be selective about how I spend my time. Now, I only accept projects that are suited to what I do. I also have a small team of writers to help me take on more projects without taking a huge chunk of my availability. I’ve also improved my time management, helping me stay on track and get more done during my work days.

Alli HillAlli Hill
Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

Develop Helpful Skills

I have focused on improving my personal efficiency by developing skills like speed reading, effective note-taking, and utilizing productivity apps. These techniques have allowed me to accomplish tasks more quickly and efficiently, enabling me to work less without sacrificing productivity.

Ben LauBen Lau
Founder, Featured SEO Company

Use Time Blocking

To optimize productivity without sacrificing quality, I implemented a novel technique called “time blocking.” This involved segmenting my workday into dedicated time slots for specific tasks.

By allocating focused blocks of time to similar activities, I minimized distractions and maximized efficiency. According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, time blocking can increase productivity by 30%.

For example, as a copywriter, I assigned specific hours for brainstorming, writing, editing, and research. This approach allowed me to immerse myself fully in each task, leading to improved concentration and better outcomes. By embracing time blocking, I’ve found a unique way to reduce work hours while maintaining and even surpassing productivity levels.

Himanshu SharmaHimanshu Sharma
CEO and Founder, Academy of Digital Marketing

Employ Outsourcing

One strategy that’s worked incredibly well for me has been automation. I’ve started to use different tools to automate tasks, such as social media posting and email management. Another approach is outsourcing—hiring freelancers to handle certain aspects of the blog, such as graphic design or content creation.

This has significantly cut down on my workload, yet my blog continues to thrive. So, while it might seem like I’m “working less,” I’m actually just working more efficiently.

Khamis MaioufKhamis Maiouf
CEO, Book of Barbering

Rely on Prioritization

Until recently, I found myself completing two kinds of tasks: 1) the assigned tasks from my actual job description, and 2) the superfluous tasks that co-workers drop onto me. Over time, the latter began to overtake the former, and I was dedicating an inordinate amount of time to tasks that I simply didn’t need to complete, at the expense of my actual job.

After realizing this, I am consciously minimizing the additional tasks I personally take on, allowing me to focus on my primary workload. This means saying “no” to people when required and not feeling guilty for prioritizing my own work. By doing this, you can reduce your overall workload without losing productivity, making work feel less burdensome or overwhelming.

Chloe YarwoodChloe Yarwood
HR Manager, Test Partnership

Implement the Pomodoro Technique

One effective strategy I have used to reduce work without compromising productivity is implementing a structured time management approach. I use the Pomodoro Technique, in which I work uninterrupted for 25 minutes before taking a short 5-minute break.

After four cycles have been completed, I take an extended 15–30 minute break, which helps me remain focused and motivated while giving ample opportunity for rest and renewal.

Shaun ConnellShaun Connell
Founder and CEO, U.S. Dictionary

Embrace Flexible Work Arrangements

By exploring options like remote work or flexible schedules, you can optimize your work-life balance and increase job satisfaction. This allows you to design a work schedule that suits your needs and preferences, helping you work less without sacrificing productivity.

Remote work eliminates commuting time, reduces distractions, and promotes a more comfortable and focused work environment. Flexible schedules enable you to align your work hours with your peak productivity times and personal commitments. These arrangements empower you to create a healthier work-life integration, leading to improved well-being and higher job performance.

Roy LauRoy Lau
Co-founder, 28 Mortgage

Combine Powerful Techniques

As a CEO, I have learned some things that have helped me be successful, yet still have time to enjoy my hobbies during the week!

  • Prioritizing tasks: Focus on completing the most important tasks first and avoid getting bogged down in less urgent or lower-priority tasks.
  • Delegating tasks: Identify tasks that can be delegated to others on the team, freeing up time for more high-level work.
  • Taking breaks: Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to boost productivity and reduce stress, allowing you to work more efficiently when you return to work.

Overall, by prioritizing, delegating, and taking breaks, it’s possible to work less without sacrificing productivity.

Mike PodestoMike Podesto
Founder and CEO, Find My Profession

Overcome Perfectionism

As a perfectionist, I’m never fully happy with my accomplishments. It used to take me ages to polish the texts I created. I just couldn’t help reading them dozens of times to track what needed improvements. Obsessed with checking every single character, I felt overwhelmed with work. It was tiring and pointless.

Since I stopped implementing endless corrections, I have become more productive and energetic at work. Learning to let go has been a game-changer in my professional life and beyond.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

Submit Your Answer

Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What”s something you”ve done to work less without losing productivity in your job?”

Submit your answer here.