Want to be a top performer working half a day? Do this.

Take this three-step approach to work half a day and be a top performer.

Sérgio Martins

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Feel like you need more time for everything?

I've become a senior software engineer, managing my successful Airbnb business, going to the gym regularly, taking care of my family and doggo, and enjoying time with friends.

And, in a hypothetical scenario where I'd get demoted to a junior role, it would be like going on vacation. Working 10 hours a week would be enough to get promoted during the next performance cycle. Not because I'm a great engineer—I am—but because I know what's important and what's not important, and the things that aren't important I wouldn't do.

It all comes down to a three-step approach.

1. Focus entirely for 2–4 hours every day

By doing this, you'll always be a top performer. You want your work to be a slow burn, not a heavy lift. A little every day will get you so far. It's not healthy spending long nights trying to ship something out; you'll burn yourself out and feel mentally and physically drained. Things that make you stand out can't be done in one go. Avoid context switching during this period.

I consider context switching things that have the potential to effect your emotions. Such as email, reddit, instagram.

2. Do one thing at a time

Priorities mean that two things can't be equally important. Your job is to every day do one thing truly well. You need to be OK that you can't do everything. If you have competing priorities and can't focus on one thing, break them up by day of the week or month. You don't need a fancy scheduling system for this. Be pragmatic and realistic.

Below's a screenshot of my Notion notes that I had written for a whole quarter (notice that one of the OKRs was descoped, which allowed me to focus on the other accomplishments).

Personal written notes with the goals for the quarter.
Personal written notes with the goals for the quarter.

3. Permanently declutter your schedule

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Sérgio Martins

Hey, my name is Sérgio, and I’m a Senior Software Engineer by trade. Here you’ll find short and straight-to-the-point articles related to my craft, and business