It’s become increasingly apparent over the last while that the way we work just isn’t working.
Meet up with friends on a Friday night, if you can convince them to drag their tired, overworked selves off the couch, and the conversation quickly turns to how hectic the workweek was.
That’s why people have started talking about the four-day workweek.
Someone even made the argument for an eight-hour workweek – that’s the stuff of dreams.
We’re huge fans, here at 2OV, of remote working Mondays. As I write this, I’m sitting happily in my apartment with a blanket and a cup of coffee. Bliss.
Mondays have become a lot more manageable, and the weekend feels just that little bit longer, thanks to the extra hour of sleep I get because I don’t have to brave the traffic into town.
According to Forbes, there’s a reason that these theories and models for rethinking how we work have come into play – “the eight-hour workday is an outdated and ineffective approach to work”.
The eight-hour workday was created during the industrial revolution as an effort to cut down on the number of hours of manual labor that workers were forced to endure on the factory floor. This breakthrough was a more humane approach to work 200 years ago, yet it possesses little relevance for us today.
A recent study conducted by the Draugiem Group used a computer application to track employees’ work habits. More specifically, it monitored how much time people spent on various tasks and compared it to their productivity.
In the process of measuring people’s activity, they stumbled upon a fascinating finding: the length of the workday didn’t matter much; what mattered was how people structured their day. In particular, people who were religious about taking short breaks were far more productive than those who worked longer hours.
The ideal time ratio was 57 minutes spent on a task followed by 17 minutes of rest.
People who have discovered this magic productivity ratio crush their competition because they tap into a fundamental need of the human mind: the brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy (roughly an hour) followed by spurts of low energy (15–20 minutes).
This goes a long way to explain that mid-afternoon slump.
Ideally, we wouldn’t waste time trying to push through fatigue in the afternoon. If your eight-hour day is unavoidable, however, here’s how to maximise productivity.
Break your day into hourly intervals
Plan your day by dividing it into manageable chunks. Allocate each task an hour.
Respect your hour
While you’re engaged in something over the course of an hour, make sure that it gets your full focus followed by a short rest period.
Take real rest
Your 15-minute rest period is not the time to check Facebook or watch YouTube. Stretch, go for a walk, drink some water, or even put your head down on your desk for a quick power nap.
Don’t wait until you’re exhausted to take a break
The point is to fend off the fatigue, not give in to it.
Do all of the above and you’re guaranteed to be more productive at work.
You can sit down with your boss and have a convo about shorter workdays.
Just make sure the meeting isn’t longer than an hour, and you take that 15 minutes of downtime afterwards.
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