Focused Work vs. Normal Work


Only about 40% of the typical workday is actually work. The other 60% (at least!) is wasted time. Some of this wasted time is your fault, some is your work environment’s fault, and some is your bosses’ or management’s fault.

Examples of wasted time at work that is your fault:

  • Non-work related web sites. Facebook, online shopping, sports, blogs, whatever. 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites every day at work. That’s every day!
  • Porn. 25 of employees admit to viewing porn at work.
  • Looking for another job.
  • Watching TV or other video (YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc).
  • Personal phone calls and texting.
  • Personal email.
  • Chit-chatting with co-workers about gossip, sports, or other non-work related stuff.

Examples of wasted time at work that is the result of your work environment:

  • Spam and other useless email.
  • Being interrupted by co-workers, employees, and bosses.
  • Poorly written or spoken communication from co-workers.
  • Fixing co-workers’ screw-ups.
  • Useless or irrelevant paperwork.
  • Office politics.

Examples of wasted time at work that is your bosses’ fault:

  • Useless meetings.
  • Useless conference calls.
  • Useless training on topics you’ll never use in your job.
  • Inefficient workflow systems.
  • Slow or problematic computers that are not upgraded or fixed.

Most people report that they waste about 25% of their time at work. However, when actually studied, the more accurate number is 60% to 80%. Based on my business experience, I’d say that’s about right, though some people are obviously worse than others.

If 60% to 80% of your work time is wasted, that means that if you spend 1 hour working in a very focused manner on a specific, productive, important task, and stick with it completely, and don’t screw around, and are not interrupted by anyone, that means you’ll get the equivalent of 1 hour and 45 minutes accomplished in just 1 hour.

Think about that for a minute. That means you could theoretically take a 50-hour work week and turn it into 15-hour work week and still get about the same amount of work done.

This is exactly how I’m able to run three businesses but still work less than 30 hours a week most weeks. When I work, I set a one-hour timer, silence my phone and put it away, shut down my email programs, and put in one focused hour of work. No interruptions, no distractions, no screwing around, no messing with paperwork or meetings or other silliness. Just one hour of completely focused work.

My entire work life revolves around focused work hours rather than normal work hours. I get far more done in far less time than just about anyone else I know. If you start doing the same thing, you can and will transform your work life.

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