Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

5 Changes I Made to My Work Schedule That Made Me 2.66 Times More Productive

Hint: Working 16-hour days is definitely not the answer.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Does working more mean getting more done? That's a common misconception, but the truth is, you need to work smarter, not harder. I used to work 13 hours a day, thinking that the extra time would help me get more done. According to a report by Staples, 70 percent of Americans believe the same and work more than 40 hours a week. But, actually the opposite is true. Those extra hours just ending up making you tired and burned out.

Related: 10 Bad Work Habits to Eliminate Before Becoming an Entrepreneur

Now, I work just five hours a day, and I actually get more done and am making a greater impact on my business than I did when I worked 13 hours. But how?

As he noted in an article for The Economist, C. Northcote Parkinson stated, “It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” This is now known as Parkinson’s Law. Basically, no matter how many hours you work, you’re still going to get the same amount of work done. So, it’s important to learn how to manage your time wisely and be more productive.

Here’s how I do it:

1. Manage your energy, not your time.

It’s impossible to be perfectly productive for an entire day. On Twitter, leadership expert Robin Sharma wrote, “Productivity is less about what you do with your time, and more about how you run your mind.” How you run your mind will depend on your energy level. Most people have a certain time of day when they are most productive. Perhaps it’s the early hours of the morning or right before lunchtime, or maybe you’re a night owl. For me, I have the lowest energy from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. So, guess what? I stop working at 2 p.m. and go home.

2. Purge useless tasks.

Twice a year, I sit down and do this exercise: I make a list of all of the tasks I do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Then, I group the tasks based on importance. This allows me to figure out what tasks I’m spending too much time on -- ones that I’d be better off letting someone else do.

Doing this exercise also shows me what tasks I maybe need to hire someone for or what I can outsource. Try making your own list to see how you can streamline your work. Ask yourself, “What can only be done by me?” Everything else can be delegated to someone else on your eam.

3. Embrace technology.

Staples also found that 75 percent of the American workers it surveyed don’t believe they have access to the latest efficiency-boosting technology. If this is you, you need to change what you’re doing. Technology can help you increase your productivity astronomically -- and in multiple areas.

Related: The Work Habits That Will Make You Successful

One of my favorite tools is, which I use to manage my calendar. Calendly is another great option. These tools allow you to set your schedule and share it with others so they know when you are available and when you’re not.

You should also implement a system for your task list and to-do list. I use Things, and if I don’t put a task on my Things, it’s not going to get done. Tools like Google Analytics and Profitwell also help me gauge the success of my marketing efforts. I can see whether or not traffic is growing and revenue is going up. If not, I know I need to focus my efforts somewhere else.

4. Choose your top three things.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey wrote: “The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

What are your top three priorities? These should be your main focus each day. Only choose to work on tasks that move the needle and make an impact on your business. This will allow you to work smarter. (And because I work smarter, I can run my two multimillion-dollar companies, travel a few times a month, manage 20-plus people around the world and still have dinner with my wife and a life.)

5. Save admin for the weekend.

Working through the weekend won’t help you any more than working 16 hours a day during the week, but by scheduling a few strategic work sessions on the weekend, you can set yourself up to have a more productive week.

Related: Mark Zuckerberg's Surprising Work Habits: Your Weekly News Roundup

I like to take Saturday and Sunday mornings and do my admin tasks or my “heads-down work.” During those two to three hours, I’m more likely to get more work done since there are few distractions and I’m better able to focus. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy your weekend and days off. When you do, you’ll come back refreshed and ready to take on the week.


How to Lead Calmly and Effectively While Your Business Experiences Growth

The co-founder and CEO of Komodor discusses his company's journey and his advice for entrepreneurs who find themselves in the spotlight overnight.

This Meta Leader Has Interviewed More Than 300 Job Candidates. Here are Her Pro Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Job Interview.

Meta's head of Global Environmental, Social, and Governance Business shares her dos and don'ts when it comes to the phases of a job interview.

This No-Code Platform Just Closed a $55.5 Million Round B

The co-founder and CEO of EasySend shares how his company creates digital customer journeys and his advice for entrepreneurs looking to break through the noise.

This SaaS Founder Sold His Business to Oracle for $9.3 Billion

In November 2016, NetSuite was acquired for $9.3 billion. Founder Evan Goldberg explains how it happened.

These Founders Started Their Company With a $300 Investment. They've Now Done $1 Million in Profits.

Watch this exciting episode of 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch' to learn about Canadian legging company Rose Buddha and see which hopefuls are able to land investor capital.

This Digital Campaign Celebrates the Fast-Growing Workforce of Web Creators

Elementor's VP of Marketing discusses the company's digital campaign and how web creators fit into the larger creator economy.

Watch the 60-Second Pitch That Landed a $500,000 Investment

Find out which companies impress our investors on another exciting episode of 'Elevator Pitch.'

Why This CEO Believes Entrepreneurship Is as Important to Learn as Geometry

Ayele Shakur shares her bold plan to make entrepreneurship education a requirement for high-school students and explains why business leaders should get on board.

How this Healthcare Entrepreneur is Disrupting the Fertility Space

The Founder and CEO of Inception Fertility shares how his family's road to parenthood inspired a brand that's making fertility treatment more accessible and the patient experience at the heart of what they do.

Can a Sex-Enhancement Product Score a $100K Deal in 60 Seconds?

Don't miss the new 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch' episode. Watch now!

Why This Company Is Providing Financial Services for the Blockchain Space

The co-founder and managing partner of Nexo shares how his company has expanded from a lending service to a 360-degree financial management platform.

This Doctor Uses Machine Learning to Identify Overlooked Causes of Infertility

The founder of Pregmune shares how his company is revolutionizing the treatment of fertility care.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.
  • Watch our staff interview top entrepreneurs and report on location in these exclusive videos.