How to Reduce the Number of Hours You Work Each Week

In this video, Dr. Melissa Gratias tells the tale of a client who reduced her work hours from 75 to 50. There are things you need to do at work and home to achieve similar results.

Don’t want to watch the video? A transcript is below.



Hi, my name is Dr. Melissa Gratias. I help overworked and overwhelmed people and transform them into folks who feel focused, balanced, and successful.

Today, I am talking to you in this video about how to reduce the number of work hours you have in an average week.

I’ll start out by reading you a testimonial because the “proof is in the pudding” with clients.

Melissa was the best thing to happen to me and my professional career. When I started working with Melissa, I was working 75 hours a week – now, I am down to 50 and I get more done in those 50 than I ever was in 75! I can go home at the end of the day with a sense of peace, knowing exactly what I accomplished that day, and what I plan to accomplish the next day. No more panic attacks when the phone rings thinking it is someone telling me I have forgotten to do something! I no longer take my work home every night and every weekend, and I have virtually quit dreaming about it. Melissa is kind, patient, and above all, a real person. Thank you, Melissa!!

What a lovely testimonial that this person gave me. The thing to remember is that she reduced her work hours from (consistently) 75 down to 50, and she’s even getting more done in less hours.

How do you reduce your work hours?

There are a couple of things that you need to do at work and a couple of things that you need to do at home to reduce your work hours.

Let’s start with the work stuff…

1. Set boundaries

The first thing you need to do at work is to set boundaries. If there are no boundaries, then there’s really no impetus for you to stop.

Some of the early questions I ask a new coaching client are:

“When do you actually start and end work in the day?”

“What is your goal start time and your goal end time?”

If we don’t have a mountaintop in the distance for which we are striving, then it’s hard to know when we get there!

Set boundaries. If you don’t do that, I guarantee your employer and your clients are not going to do it on your behalf. You have to set your own boundaries.

So, the first thing you do at work is set boundaries.


2. Follow a closing ritual

The second thing you need to do is follow a closing ritual.

I have harped on about this in other videos and blog posts. I think I even did a Fred Flintstone yabba-dabba-doo impression at one point.

A closing ritual is the last 15 minutes of the work day where you wrap things up.

  • You update your to-do list
  • You look at your calendar for the next day

You give yourself a sense of closure and completeness to your work day rather than leaving it with dangling threads that never quite feel done.

The first two things to do at work are to set boundaries and to have a closing ritual.

But then you get home.

You’ve got to keep yourself from reengaging with work, right?


3. Charge your phone somewhere inconvenient

Especially with mobile devices, it’s so easy to reengage with work. The first recommendation with that mobile device is to charge it in a location that helps you stay away from it.

Don’t have your charging station be on any surface that is near something comfortable to sit or lay on.

Which means…

If you charge it on your desk, then your desk chair is right there. You could sit in your desk chair, and while it charges you can look at email.

If you charge it in your bedroom, then you’re lying in bed swiping through your email. This is just about the most ridiculous thing to do at the end of the day. Let’s remind ourselves how very much we didn’t get done right before we need to go to sleep. Sweet dreams!

Charge your phone on a counter or on some high shelf that’s not comfortable for you to access while it’s charging.


4. Have a separate “bedroom phone” if you must

The second thing is I hear so many of my clients saying is “Well I need to have my phone by my bed because I use it for my alarm clock, and my white noise machine, etc.!”

Fine, but have a “bedroom phone.” Don’t use your primary phone in your bedroom.

We trade in our phones every two to three years, generally, right? Instead of mailing back the old phone to Apple (or whoever) and getting $24.53 for it, keep it and don’t have it access cellular data. Wipe out the access to email and your calendar on it.

Delete all the access to those work accounts and use it as a “bedroom phone.” You can keep it plugged in beside your bed. You can use it for its clock function. You can use it for the white noise, music, whatever. Make it kind of a dead device that doesn’t access anything that would be work-related.

Does that make sense?

At home, you’re trying to put barriers between you and reengaging with work on your phone.


5. The most important thing to reduce your hours

The most important thing to maintain fewer work hours during the week is to have a centralized, comprehensive, task list.

I see clients throwing more and more hours at their jobs simply because they’re forgetting to do things. They don’t have a centralized, comprehensive, task list.

If you don’t believe me, here’s a testimonial to prove the point:

Working with Melissa was fantastic. She helped me organize and plan a way to effectively get things done in my very busy teaching and dormitory and coaching schedule. With this help, I could actually turn work off for a while and enjoy my family all the while knowing I wasn’t forgetting anything. I could not recommend her more highly.

The centralized, comprehensive, task list (or to-do list) is critical. I went over it in one of my ebooks in the Crazy Productive series.

Recall the first testimonial from the client who said she was now getting more done in 50 hours than she ever did in 75. That happened because of her centralized task management tool that we worked out together.

Let me leave you with this, folks.

The number of hours you work per week is within your control. Yes, some weeks are going to be bad and some seasons are going to be busy. That’s to be expected, especially in some industries.

But you do have control over the number of hours you work per week. You do not have to be a victim to your circumstances.

Start by setting some boundaries and some closing rituals at work. Then, set some boundaries between you and your work devices when you get home.

This is Dr. Melissa Gratias. If you like my videos and my blogs, you would love working with me. Please reach out. There’s no cost to you for the initial consultation. There’s no risk!

Reach out to me and say “Alright Melissa. I’m ready. Let’s talk.”

Have a great day.


Corral To-Dos eBook

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Check out my eBook Corral Your To-Dos: and don’t rely on your brain – at all.

Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.



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