Courtesy of Ari Meisel; Photo illustration by Alex Thebez for TIME
October 7, 2015

We often hear the proposal that we should shorten the work week. But a better strategy would be for us all to value our own personal peak work times, the moments when we’re the most productive.

People don’t work efficiently enough. We should be asking: Are we spending our time the right way? Are we using our resources to the best of our ability? Are we doing something that provides fulfillment?

I believe that about 95% of the things that people do on a daily basis can be done by other people or other things. There’s about 5% that can only be done by you. And that’s what you should focus on. If you want to grow as a person, you need to be offloading about 70% of what you do every year.

Everyone likes to think that everything they do is special, unique and needed. We have this need to feel useful and irreplaceable. But that’s terrible for our ability to be happy. The problem is that if you’re irreplaceable, you can’t be promoted. You should want to be replaceable. That lets you grow.

There’s no such thing as a work-life balance. You’re the same person: For example, you’re a parent when you’re at work, and you’re a consultant when you’re at home. The key is to know what roles we’re supposed to be in, and when we’re supposed to be in them. That’s work-life integration.

Meisel is the author of LESS DOING, MORE LIVING: Make Everything in Life Easier.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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