My overall view, a little extreme at times, is that very very few people (read 0.01 %) have the need to work 60, 70, 80 or 90 hours a week. If you are Elon Musk and run 3 billion-dollar companies, I can understand, but for most of us working that long hours is simply inefficient.
In fact, it damages our brains and studies clearly show that decreasing marginal productivity exist as we work longer and longer hours.
I have worked with productivity optimisation for years at the digital consultancy, IIH Nordic who since february 2017 has offered their employees a very controversial 4-day workweek that has gotten attention all over the world.
Do not bother too much about “4-day workweek”. Thats not the point. The point is that we all can work more efficiently. In episode 16 of “Fremtidsfabrikken” we discussed this 4-day workweek with CEO of IIH Nordic, Henrik Stenmann. Links below for your convenience:
A great explanation, although there are many, to why so many people waste their time working long hours instead of working smarter is found in the difference between the industrial age and information age.
Time has changed
In the industrial age TIME EQUALED MONEY as most people worked in factories where we could simply measure the production in NUMBER OF UNITS PRODUCED, which basically was a question of 1) the quality of the machines used and 2) the time input.
Today, in the information age or innovation age, time is however no longer money. Or… It kinda still is but there are so many other factors.
Moreover, you cannot measure in “units produced” anymore. In factories you still can yes. However, for more or less all office jobs, where most of us find ourselves doing knowledge-intensive work, it is super hard to actually measure the “outcome” of our work.
The outcome of work is also no longer just a matter of our time input and the quality of the machines used.
It is much more complex today. Thus the equation is different today.
In the industrial age: Time = Money
In the information age: Productivity = Money
And productivity depends on much more:
– Time input (like in the industrial age)
– Quality of machines used (like in the industrial age)
– Knowledge and learning
– Social intelligence and communication skills
– Level of focus or concentration
– Energy level
Productivity = Money
Thus, corporations and individuals alike can achieve huge benefits from spending just a little bit of time optimising productivity.
I try to share my knowledge in this field through blog posts, from time to time in my podcast episodes and most importantly through public speaking. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to hear more. I love talking about this as I think it is such a shame that so many people run around being stressed when there are so many ways to work smarter!