How to Work less and Play Harder

A recent presentation by Dermot Crowley at the Quay Appointments Breakfast Seminar got me thinking about productivity.

There is a lot of information around the internet regarding productivity in the work place. I read an article somewhere that said that the future of the work force is based on a work life balance. Essentially in the future people would work less and get paid more so they could still sustain their spending habits. The article went on to say that if the working day was shorter and people had to complete all their work in a shorter period they would. People would learn to be more productive and manage their time better to ensure they are secure in their high paid, low work jobs.

So how do we be more productive? Most people say similar things, Dermot Crowley cites Paul J Meyer saying “productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort” which pretty much sums up most research that is currently out there on this topic.

Be productive throughout your workday and ensure you leave on time, leaving on time sets out a clear timeline in your mind. If you have to leave then all your work has to be done by then. Work smarter not harder.

Tasks and to do lists

Set out a plan for you day. Put aside 15 minutes at the start or end of your day to make sure that you are being productive throughout the day. During this 15 minutes make sure that you input all your to do lists into your tasks in outlook (yes this includes your sticky notes, scrap paper, random lists and thoughts…I know we all have them so stop hiding from it). This will give you a visual aid of what you need to get done throughout the day and a sense of achievement when you get to tick them off the list.

Dermot Crowley says that you centralise all your meetings in your outlook calendar why don’t you do this with your task list? It would make so much more sense, it is just re adjusting the way we think about our working day.


Make sure the meetings you attend need you to be there. Jeff Bezos from Amazon never organises a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group. Jeff says that the more people you have at a meeting the more likely you are to agree with the general consensus and not voice your own views.

Next time you get invited to a meeting ask yourself if the content is relevant and if you really need to be there. Your employer may be shocked when you ask if you really need to be at a meeting but when you tell them you are working on improving your productivity at work and this is detrimental to that they should be encouraging you.

Decide when you are going to have meetings and the location. This will depend highly on what the aim of the meeting is.  A study by students in Chicago found that 2 beers increases the creative thinking at meetings. In fact this was the way google was invented. If it is a creative ideas meeting you are aiming at perhaps a bar isn’t a bad idea.

Buffer Time

No one can work at 100% capacity 100% of the time. Take breaks. Schedule them into your time planner and make sure that you utilise the time. Take a walk around the block, get up make a cup of tea. Walking away from your desk will refocus your mind and get you back to that 100% that we all should be working at.

Happy Employees

A recent study proved that a happy employee’s productivity will actually improve by 12%. This study gave participants chocolate and made them watch DVD’s from the comedian Bill Bailey. Now the answer to a happy workforce may not entirely depend on chocolate but…employers it wouldn’t hurt.

For more information on a productive workplace have a look at


– Written by Deasha Waddup

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