Work at Peak: Why Should an 8-Hour Working Day Be Given Up
If you want to be as productive as possible, you should leave the relic of an 8-hour workday and find a new way.
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An 8-hour working day is an outdated and inefficient approach to work. If you want to be as productive as possible, you should leave this relic and find a new way.
The 8-hour working day was invented during the Industrial Revolution as an attempt to reduce the number of hours of manual labor for factory workers. Two hundred years ago, it was a breakthrough and a more humane approach to work, but it does not fit today.
Like our grandfathers, we spend 8 hours working long periods, with little or no breaks. Hell, most people work even on lunch breaks!
This outdated approach to work does not help us, it pulls us back.
The Best Way to Structure Your Day
A recent study by Draugiem Group used a computer application to track employee work habits. In particular, the application measured how much time people spent on different tasks and compared this to their performance levels.
In measuring people's activity, they came to an amazing conclusion: the length of the working day is not important, it is how people structured their day. In particular, workers who were sure to have short breaks were much more productive than those who had worked longer.
The ideal work/breakout ratio is 52 minutes of work and then 17 minutes of rest. People who followed this sequence showed a unique level of attention in their work. For almost an hour they were 100% dedicated to the task they had to perform. They didn't look up "very quickly" on Facebook or get distracted by emails.
When they felt tired (again, after about an hour), they took short breaks during which they were completely distracted from their work. This allowed them to immerse themselves in another hour of productive work with fresh energy.
Your Brain Wants an Hour to Work and 15 Minutes to Rest.
People who have discovered this magic ratio of productivity win because it affects the fundamental need of the human mind: the brain naturally functions with alternating bursts of high (about an hour) and low energy (15-20 minutes).
The best way to deal with fatigue and distractions is to approach the working day more thoughtfully. Don't try to fight fatigue when your productivity starts to drop after an hour of work, take it as a sign that it's time to take a break.
Breaks are easier to arrange when you know that they will make your day more productive. Fatigue often wins because we keep working without paying attention to it (after losing energy and concentration) and take the wrong breaks (checking emails and watching YouTube doesn't recharge you like a walk).
Take Control of Your Working Day.
An 8-hour working day is useful if you break your time into strategic intervals. Once you find a balance between your natural energy and your efforts, things will go much smoother. Here are four tips to help you achieve the perfect rhythm.
1. Break Your Day Down Into Hourly Intervals.
We usually plan what we need to achieve by the end of the day, week, or month, but we are much more effective when we focus on what we can do right now.
In addition to setting the right rhythm, scheduling the day in hourly intervals simplifies complex tasks by allowing you to break them down into manageable parts. If you are a formalist, you can divide the day into 52-minute intervals, but an hour also has a good effect.
2. Respect This Hour.
The interval strategy works only because we use peaks of energy levels to achieve extremely high levels of concentration for a relatively short period.
If you disrespect this hour by sending text messages, checking emails, or visiting Facebook for a while, you are distorting the whole point of the approach.
3. Rest for Real.
The Draugiem study found that employees who rested more than once per hour were more productive than those who did not rest at all. Similarly, those who took relaxing breaks were better than those who, "resting", could not break away from work. To increase productivity, you need to get out from behind a computer and forget about the phone and to-do list.
Walking, reading, and talking are the most effective ways to recharge because they distract you from your work. On a busy day, you may be tempted to engage in emails or make phone calls during breaks, but that's not a good idea, so drive those thoughts away.
4. Don't Wait for Your Body to Offer You Rest...
If to pause, you are waiting for a feeling of fatigue, it may be too late - the window of maximum performance has already passed. Adherence to the schedule ensures that you will work in peak productivity and rest when you are least productive.
Remember that it is much more effective to take a little break than to keep working when you are tired and confused.
Dividing your working day into work and rest periods that match your natural energy levels speeds up your workday and increases your productivity.
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