You’re Wasting Time
Productivity is your thing. You worked through the weekend…You wrote emails, put together a sales meeting agenda, and answered phone calls. So what if you were late for your friend’s birthday party and the lawn didn’t get mowed. You were still productive. Were you really? Research shows that working long hours actually saps your productivity in the long run. You might think you’re getting work stuff done by clocking in more than 50 hours a week, but the truth is you’re wasting time.
An interesting Stanford University study that looked at the productivity of females working in munition factories spread all over Britain during World War One proves the point.
The author of the study, John Pencavel, found that the output of the women who toiled more than 70 hours a week differed little than if they had worked 50 hours a week.
That’s right. All those long hours those women spent – Sunday was their only day off – loading gun cartridges didn’t matter to their output in the long run. In fact, the study found that productivity begins to fall after working 50 hours a week.
Yes, I know working piecemeal in a munitions factory during wartime in 1914 isn’t the same as working in an office, but the study proves that clocking in long hours in any line work is counterproductive.
Aside from zapping your productivity, working long hours can lead to fatigue, obesity, brain damage, stress, and even a news article. So how does one work less and still stay ahead of work obligations? There is plenty of advice out there. Business Insider ran a story highlighting entrepreneurs who manage to get things done by working fewer hours.
By working less you’ll get more and better work done, a Slate piece suggests. The thinking is that when your energy is depleted from working long hours you are prone to make bad decisions and mistakes.
So, next weekend, turn off your cellphone. Go for a bike ride, spend time with your family, take a yoga class. And mow the lawn.
Unplug…Have Fun…Get more work DONE!