The long hours of productivity

How many hours do you work on an average day? Let me rephrase: How many hours are you in the office on an average day? It’s not the same, is it?

In my experience that’s really the problem and let me illustrate using simplified caricatural example:

– First week: it seems we have a lot of time to do our tasks and we relax and take time doing things.
– Second week: we start to feel the pressure and speed up, but adding a slow start, a bad estimate, and all other factors that usually delay any project, stress creeps in.
– Third week: you feel like making some recovering or someone persuades you to do so, so you start leaving 1, 2 or 3 hours later.

Sometime later we are stuck in a cycle that essentially goes like this:

– I went home so late that I’ll get in a bit later.
– I’m doing so much extra time that I’ll make a few longer coffee breaks.
– Lunch time must be relaxing and slow as we need to pause in the middle of the day, so we can withstand the long hours.

So, at this stage we are spending 10-12 hours in the office, but productivity suffers and this cycle is really hard to break. Especially if management is not alert and does not have the right culture.
In the end we will quit the job because everyone in the company is “crazy” and “management” does not do anything to solve it…

The reality is that everyone must make an effort to have 8 really productive, focused hours every day and then go home with the feeling of mission accomplished. This is really important for the “work-life” balance, although in this culture of “everyone is and entrepreneur and must work in a startup drive” we are let to believe that every task is the work of our life and as such we have to put in 16h/day.

I disagree. There is no work-life balance. Work is a part of life and as such it must have it’s time and dedication, but it must be in an amount that’s healthy and promotes creativity. Creativity and new ideas or approaches take time. Being in the office, is not equivalent as to being productive.

I like to work with people that manage their time well and are dedicated to life (both work, social, family, and all other dimensions) and are not just waiting to go home to a pizza in front of the TV and then repeat the next day…

What’s your take on this?




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