October 25, 2020


This is why we need to ditch the 8-hour workday for good (JORY MACKAY, 10/25/20, Fast Company)

1. Almost no one is "working" for eight hours a day.

Let's start with some hard data. It doesn't matter how long you spend in the office, chances are you aren't working productively for eight hours a day.

Instead, data and surveys from around the world have found that modern workers are only truly productive for a maximum of 2 hours and 50 minutes a day.

But what about the other five-plus hours? They're spent on nonwork activities like reading the news or social media, socializing with coworkers, taking breaks, or lost to multitasking, context switching, and endless meetings.

2. Quality of work (and happiness) drops sharply after a certain number of hours.

Even if you try to work more to make up for those lost hours, your productivity will hit a wall.

According to research from Stanford University, output and creativity sharply decline after 50 hours of working in a week. And it only gets worse the more you work. In fact, people who work a 70-hour workweek are likely to produce nothing during those 15-20 extra hours.

3. Our focus is limited to blocks of 20-90 minutes max.

The problem with long workdays isn't just that we're spending too long at work. It's that we're trying to spend all that time productively.

The human brain is more like a muscle than a computer. You can't load it up with tasks without giving it breaks and proper time to recover. As research scientist Andrew Smart explains:

"The idea that you can indefinitely stretch out your deep focus and productivity time to these arbitrary limits is really wrong. It's self-defeating."

Instead, research shows that attention spans begin to decay significantly after 20 minutes while most people require a break every 50-90 minutes. (If you want to get technical, our brains go through something called ultradian rhythms every 90 minutes after which we need to take a break.)

Posted by at October 25, 2020 12:00 AM