40 Hours is Too Much Time for Most People
As human beings, we have a way to fill the time whenever we’re given a task. So much so, we have a name for it: Parkinson’s Law. This law explains how “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”, which is ultimately the human condition in essence. Have you ever had an assignment, a project, or a report due by the end of next week? How many times have you waited until the night before to finish it in its entirety? We’re guessing more often than you’d like to admit, right? In this post, we’ll be discussing how a 40-hour work week is often more time than you actually need. We’ll be citing studies which have shown why most people complete their work in way less time than provided. Enjoy!
We Fill in the Time No Matter What
As mentioned above, Parkinson’s Law dictates how we’ll often fill in the gaps when it comes to time. Time is a construct we’ve created as human beings, yet it will control your life if you allow it to. Being in control of your time can do wonders for your overall productivity rates. When you have a limited amount of time to complete a task, your mind will often go into overdrive mode to complete the task. Let’s say for example, you’re given the opportunity on Monday morning to create a keynote presentation to present to potential clients for your business. You’re instructed by your manager it must be finished by this Friday at 5pm. You’ll most likely pen it in to your schedule to be completed by then, yet you’ll most likely wait until 3pm on said Friday to complete it, as it only takes an hour or so anyway. This ultimately yields a higher stress environment where you’re forced to finish a task within a certain timeframe, or else there’s going to be an issue.
Now, let’s apply the same principle to a fictional deadline within reality, yet very real within your mind. Let’s say you tell yourself the presentation must be completed that same Monday afternoon by 5pm. Okay, great! You’ve set yourself up for possibly less stress by completing the task at hand well in advance of the deadline set by your manager. Now, once it’s completed within your fictional deadline, you’ll be able to focus on whatever else you need to do for the rest of the work week. You’ve forced yourself to fill in the time with your own deadlines, instead of the deadlines outside of your control. Try this a few times and see how it may positively affect the way you’re able to complete tasks. Once you have the ball rolling, you may find it easier and easier to complete things well in advance and have way more time than you know what to do with throughout your 40-hour work week.
We’re More Productive When We Have Less Time
Stress is often viewed as only a negative factor in our lives, yet it’s one of the main motivators for us to complete tasks. If we never stressed about completing anything, we’d most likely never complete it in the first place. When you force yourself to complete a task within an artificial deadline, you’re saying: “no matter what, I’m going to complete this task…”. This can be extremely powerful when and allow you to focus on what needs to be done, while also being able to tune out the background noise distracting you from accomplishing your goals. When we have less time to complete tasks, we’re often pressed to complete them much more efficiently and effectively than if we’re leisurely going about things. Use the stress of completing something within a certain deadline set by YOU to best optimize your workflow and work week.
Our Productivity Levels Drop After 3 Hours of Continuous Work
It’s been shown in studies after three hours of continuous work, we tend to lose maximum productivity levels. Now there may be exceptions to the case where someone such as Elon Musk claiming to be able to work 80 hour work weeks no problem, yet most human beings will burn out after just a few hours of continuous work. This is why it may be important to do quick bursts of truly focused work and just get stuff done! No procrastination, no “I’ll do it later” comments; just pure, focused work to complete things as efficiently and effectively as possible. Productivity levels will vary from day to day, yet if you can make it a habit to maximize a good few hours, you’ll most likely find you’re able to complete much more than previously thought; all through setting strong priorities from the start. Saying to yourself “I’m going to complete these three tasks over the next three hours no matter what!” can be very powerful. Utilize it to your advantage and watch the potential results arrive sooner rather than later.
Studies Have Shown We Perform Better with a Shortened Work Week
In Japan, Microsoft experimented with a 4-day work week over the traditional 5-day work week and the results were fantastic! They found there was a 40% increase in overall productivity, which is huge! They also placed a strong emphasis on utilizing remote communication methods and limiting meetings to no more than 30 minutes per occasion. All of these factors combined yielded quite amazing results. Imagine if we all tried this experiment for a few months? Most likely, we’d see a much more productive society with less stress, and more time for the things which actually matter in life.
Maybe It’s Time to Request a Shorter Work Week at Your Job???
If you’re intrigued about conducting this experiment within your own workplace, feel free to let us know if you actually end up testing it. We’d love to hear how it goes and if it ends up helping your team’s overall productivity rates. Additionally, if you’re interested in having your website’s SEO analyzed, feel free to fill out the form below and we’ll be sure to have an SEO audit sent your way within 24 hours. We look forward to hearing from you soon!