There is a thought/belief: the longer you work, the more time you have to do everything in.

Is this true? Does it really work and/or make sense?

In practice, working longer hours means having less time to refocus and recharge, which leads to more stress and lower energy.

Is there a better, smarter way to get things done.

One man decided to test this. Chris Bailey did an experiment to test the theory. For four weeks he alternated between working 90 hours one week, and 20 the next to see how working both extreme hours and shorter hours affected how much got done every day.
During one week he came to the conclusion that his productivity level during a one-90 hour week was only slightly more than the 20 hour week he worked.

This perplexed him. What he came to understand upon further investigation is that when he invested more time in his work during the 90 hour week, the work became less urgent; on a minute-by-minute basis, he invested less energy and focus into everything intended to get done. Conversely, when he had limited time in the 20-hour week, he expended significantly more energy and focus over a shorter period of time so he could get everything done he had to do.

He deduced: By controlling how much time you spend on a task, you control how much energy and attention you spend on it. The second interesting awareness was that even though on paper he accomplished about the same in both long and short weeks, he felt twice as productive working longer hours. Even though he wasn’t spending his attention or energy wisely, he FELT productive.

Interesting. Another awareness: Busyness does not translate into productivity if it does not lead you to accomplish anything.

If this is true than really what we need to do is shift our belief system. Everyone thinks that Europe is in trouble because they take a siesta or don’t work the hours that we do in North America. But is that true?

For Chris he wanted to find his ‘sweet spot’ of how many hours he needed to work to be and FEEL productive. The answer is 46-hours a week, which was enough time to get everything done, while taking needed breaks to recharge his energy levels and attention over the course of the day.

Studies show that the required hours work/week is less: 35-40 hours and anything more productivity will begin to plummet.

In the short run working longer hours to meet a deadline or because you have a lot of work is ok for a short period. However for the long run this is counterproductive.

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