Help! I’m Only Working My Contract Hours This Year—But Now I’m So Behind


For many professionals, working beyond the designated contract hours is a part of their job routine. Whether it’s to meet deadlines or simply handle the workload, employees often accept this as the norm. However, when one decides to strictly stick to their contracted work hours, they may suddenly find themselves lagging behind on tasks. This article will explore why this happens and provide some practical tips to help you stay on track while only working your contract hours.

Understanding the Reasons:

1. Unrealistic Expectations:

The workload expectations of employees might be unrealistic if they feel pressured to work beyond contract hours just to keep up with their tasks. Employers should evaluate and distribute work fairly amongst their team members and provide resources and support needed for efficient task completion.

2. Time Management Issues:

Proper time management skills are essential for maximizing productivity within contracted work hours. Problems with multitasking, prioritization, and procrastination can lead employees to fall behind in their tasks.

3. Unfavorable Workplace Culture:

In some cases, a “workaholic” or “always-on” culture might prevail, where employees are expected to be engaged 24/7 with work-related matters. Such an environment creates guilt and pressure on those who choose not to comply, making it challenging for them to manage their work within contract hours.

How to Stay On Track While Working Your Contract Hours:

1. Set Clear Boundaries:

Inform your supervisor and colleagues that you are committed to adhering strictly to your contract hours. Craft a clear plan outlining how your responsibilities will be handled within these constraints and communicate this effectively.

2. Manage Your Time Effectively:

Utilize time management tools like calendars, scheduling apps, and task management software to efficiently plan your workday. Evaluate different strategies such as time-blocking or using productivity techniques like the Pomodoro Method to find a system that works best for you.

3. Prioritize Your Tasks:

Create a list of tasks and prioritize them based on importance, deadline, and level of effort required. This way, you can focus on completing what must be done within your working hours and leave less urgent matters for later.

4. Learn to Delegate:

Delegate tasks to colleagues when possible while ensuring that the workload is shared fairly among the team members. Ask your supervisor for assistance or guidance if you feel overwhelmed or unclear about a task’s priority.

5. Avoid Unnecessary Distractions:

Minimize distractions in the workplace by turning off unnecessary notifications, avoiding checking emails or messages continually, and establishing a dedicated workspace free from potential interruptions.


It is entirely possible to stay on track while working strictly within your contract hours by adopting an efficient work strategy and transparent communication with your colleagues. Prioritizing tasks, managing time effectively, and maintaining healthy boundaries can result in higher job satisfaction and productivity. Moreover, fostering a positive work-life balance contributes to more engaged employees who are less likely to feel burnt out or overwhelmed in their roles.

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