NEW YORK—Are you working 60- to 70-hour shifts? If so, you aren’t alone. In many workplaces, staff has been reduced. In others, it’s a matter of working longer hours to generate new business.

Working from a virtual office can save you many hours of time in telecommuting and office distractions alone every day. But while virtual offices can definitely save time and bolster productivity, it’s not the only weapon in your time management arsenal.

Productivity and time management expert Laura Stack is suggesting we take a “work smarter” approach to living life in 2012 without suffering the high pressure burnout and potential health problems that many Americans are facing in their overburdened lifestyles, rife with distractions and low priority time sinks that interfere with work productivity and personal productivity. Virtual offices can help you avoid a lot of those distractions.

“Some professionals view a 40-hour work week as part time at best,” Stack says. “They believe that if you limit your hours to the traditional number, you also limit your opportunities.”

Stack says balancing the demands of the times with a healthy lifestyle requires careful planning and commitment to fitting positive productivity practices into the daily schedule. Among her suggestions: turn off the technology, visualize the successful completion of the days’ tasks, identifying priorities, and cut back or eliminate unnecessary distractions that eat up large portions of the day.

“Many people would be surprised if they added up all the minutes in a day they spent with unnecessary distractions like Facebook, for instance. We all need to attack our overcrowded daily itineraries head on, schedule everything we do during the day in advance, and stick to that plan to the best of our abilities,” Stack says.

“Obviously you can’t account for the unexpected all the time, but if you remain flexible and focused, you can stay on track without falling back into the same old pattern of burning the midnight oil night after night.”

Check out this classic video on time management tips from Brian Tracy: