Richard Maun – Less Hours More Work

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Less Hours More Work

13 July 2014

Productivity is not linear. More hours gives us more output and then more hours on top of that gives us less output. So then, why do we keep working more hours, when we know that we are deceiving ourselves really?

Imagine if our local school taught our children that to be happy they had to work 100 hours a week, we’d be up in arms and complain to the Head. Letters would be written, newspapers would comment.

A report in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year discussed the trend of more senior managers working fewer hours each week and commented that: ‘Dozens of studies all say the same thing – doing less and doing it without interruption can be the key to being a more productive manager and entrepreneur.’

It is increasingly being recognised that constant interruption tends to raise our stress levels, as we have to keep shifting our attention away from the current task and onto the email, or phone call, that is demanding our time. You wouldn’t teach a class of four year olds to read, with a phone ringing in the background all day, so why do we kid ourselves that as ‘grown ups’ we can do better? It’s a con.

We can work less hours by saying no to interruptions. We can find ways to delegate more and we always have more options to do this than we realise. We can set clear goals and can contract cleanly with people so that they know exactly what/how/when the task is to be organised. This will make us less likely to micro-manage. We can also ask ourselves what we want written on our tombstone?

…Here lies Rich, he worked 100 hours a week and died. So what.


…Here lies Rich, he worked 50 hours a week and spent the rest of the time playing his ukelele and presenting radio shows and having a hell of a lot of fun.

What would your tombstone say, if it was written today?

Take a moment to really think through your working life this week. Fewer hours at our desk makes us sharper and we can get more done in less time. We can set the smartphone to silent and focus for an hour, to achieve what otherwise will take us ninety minutes.

We have the power to make changes, if we really want to!

Go for it!

Next week: Setting Summer Projects


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