How to earn more by working less


No doubt you’ve heard of Parkinson’s Law, which says that, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

Translation: most people waste time.

You can get more done in less time by allocating less time to tasks and projects. That means allocating one hour for a task instead of two hours. Or assigning a due date in 48 hours instead of a week.

Having less time available gives you greater focus. You make quicker decisions. You let go of perfectionism. And you work faster.

You get more done in less time because of Horstman’s Corollary to Parkinson’s Law: “Work contracts to fit in the time we give it.”

Translation: you waste less time.

The problem is, when you’re in charge, you can do what you want to. If you want to extend a self-imposed deadline, you do it. Hey, nobody will know.

One solution, which I have talked about before, is to make sure that somebody does know. Make yourself accountable to your clients, your spouse, your employer, your staff, or your Maker. Tell people what you’re doing and when you’ll finish. Make it a promise or guarantee. And ask them to hold you accountable.

You can also train yourself to set and keep shorter deadlines by continually reminding yourself of the benefits for doing so.

Every day, spend a minute or two cogitating about the benefits of getting more done in less time. Think about how much more you earn by completing projects in less time. Think about how much extra time you have for other paying work. Think about how much extra time you have with your family or for doing other things you enjoy.

At the start of your day, look at your task list and calendar and make a conscious effort to shorten due dates and assign less time to tasks. At the end of the day, record how much time you saved on each task. At the end of the week, add up the amount of time you put into your “bank”.

What about work that is billed by the hour? If you can draft a document in one hour instead of two, you must do so. Raise your hourly rates accordingly because apparently, you are worth more than you thought.

Or, as I have repeatedly suggested, move away from hourly billing to flat fee or project based billing, which is ultimately better for you and for the client.

Don’t sell your time. It’s limited. Sell your advice, value, or work product, and earn more by working less.

More on how to earn more and work less: The Formula