Work less, produce more

As web professionals we have a culture of long hours. This has to change.

This morning I tweeted the following…

Amazed at how many people on twitter this morning are boasting about the long hours they are working. Don't they know that is a bad thing.

I was amazed by the response I received.

To many it would appear that long hours are a badge of honour. They either represent how ‘overworked and hard done by’ they are or that they enjoy work so much that they don’t mind working 24/7.

But do those arguments really stack up? I don’t believe so. Let me explain why…

I have to work long hours. I have so much work.

Most people claim that the reason they work long hours is because they have too much work to do. However in my experience work expands to fill the amount of time you give it. The more hours you allow yourself to work the more work there will be to fill them.

In my opinion it’s not about how many hours you work, its how smart you work.

Despite what some of my colleagues at Headscape like to think, I output a lot of content. I…

  • Write blog posts like this
  • Do online seminars
  • Record podcasts
  • Speak at conferences
  • Consult on client work
  • Act as Headscape’s R&D department
  • Am heavily involved in the sales process

…and so on.

People often ask me how I get so much done. Well, I can tell you one thing – it’s not because I work long hours. In fact I try and keep very strictly to an 8 hour working day.

I believe that you can achieve more by being organised, rested and motivated, than you ever can by working late into the night.

There maybe some satisfaction in pulling multiple all nighters but I don’t think it means you get more done.

Of course some claim it is not because they have to work long hours, its because they want to.

But its not work

One guy on twitter justified his long hours by quoting confucius…

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life

I can sympathise with this view. However, I believe that ultimately it is short sighted.

When I was young I took this attitude. I worked ridiculous hours because I loved what I did. I couldn’t get enough of the web and was never happier than when I was creating stuff online.

Today things are different. I am still as passionate about the web as ever but I have learnt that having time away from the web is incredibly important.

Participating in life beyond the web provides a valuable perspective that can be missed when you are constantly on the job.

Spending time with my family, friends and doing non web activities actually makes me a better web designer. It enables me to realise that not everybody cares about the web like I do and the web is not the whole world to most people. It also shows me how real people interact with it. Finally, it opens me up to sources of inspiration that otherwise I would miss.

However, although these arguments are valid they pale into insignificance when compared to the plain truth that it is not healthy to obsess over a single thing.

To be a broad, rounded human being we need to engage in non web related activities. Do you have any hobbies outside of the web? Do you socialise with non web people? These are all important not just for our mental health but also to provide perspective in our work.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that pulling the occasional all nighter is wrong. I also recognise that occasionally you need to hustle (as Gary Vaynerchuk would say) in order to make a life transition such as going freelance.

I am just saying that we should not be proud of our long hours. We should recognise them for what they are… an evil necessity.

At the end of the day nobody reaches their death bed wishing they had worked longer hours.

  • http://www.9web.co.uk Darren Appleby

    I absolutely 100% agree with this. Work smart. Stay healthy. Get the work/life balance right! It’s what I encourage my team to do and in fact, if we can finish in less than 40 hours each week, I’ll fill the rest of the time in by thanking them with a cold one (or 6) in the nearest watering hole.

    Well said Paul – wise words indeed!!

  • http://www.welcomebrand.co.uk James

    Couldn’t agree more. I think there is a case for some freelancers cramming in work because of the nature of the job and not knowing if you’ll have any work next month but that shouldn’t be something you’re doing every week.

    I like to generally stick to the principle that if it’s taking more than office hours, you’ve mis-managed the job and should look at your working and quoting processes to make sure you’re managing yours and your clients expectations about what can be delivered as you’re not going to working at your best at the end of a 16 hour day anyway.

    J.

  • Matt

    I agree with you, but I’m afraid it’s naive to suggest that people are entirely in control of the amount of work they need to get done. For most of us, the work we have to get done and the deadlines in which to achieve it are not our choice – they’re handed down to us from management.

    So most people who end up working long hours are doing so, I guess, because they have unsympathetic bosses who want to squeeze every ounce of effort they have out of their employees and hang the possible effects on morale and productivity or family life. And in these days of recession there’s less and less the employee can do faced with such a situation but comply. If you “work smarter” all you end up achieving is giving your boss an excuse to give you more work.

    I’ve made it a point of life, like you, to only do more than 8 hours a day in positions of complete emergency. But for the first time in my current role I find myself in a company where the boss expects people to do 8-9 hours as a matter of course, no matter what it says on your contract. The only “choice” I have is not to work smarter but either to knuckle down and put up with it or to endure a rock relationship with my co-workers and risk loosing my job. So far I’ve taken the latter path. But please don’t suggest that this is somehow no-one’s fault but my own.

    • http://headscape.co.uk/people/boag.html Paul Boag

      However, you are in control of where you work. Also if you push back at management it is possible to limit your hours.

    • Matt

      However, you are in control of where you work. Also if you push back at management it is possible to limit your hours.

      While you have a degree of control over where you work, it’s limited by the economic climate and the opportunities on offer. In a better job market, I’d have been out of my current role like a rat out of a trap. But with a family to support I don’t have that luxury. In the six months I’ve been here I’ve seen precisely two useful opportunities in the local area.

      And again, currently, I’m trying to push back at management and all I’m succeeding in doing is annoying my boss and alienating my co-workers who now think I’m lazy.

    • http://headscape.co.uk/people/boag.html Paul Boag

      Then you need to point your boss at this post ;-) I do sympathise and don’t mean to sound harsh.

  • terry thomas

    Nice justification Paul. I think there is definitely a ‘maturity’ that helps as you get ‘longer in the tooth’ and begin to work smarter with the experience behind you. The ability to put things into a wider perspective and realise that time spent away from the job can be very productive once you get back to it also helps. Of course you cannot get away with this when working to unrealistic deadlines where you have no choice but to put the hours in even when you work smart.

  • http://www.mekonta.co.uk John Cowen

    Yeah, I agree with this Paul. Twice this week (and it’s still only Wednesday) I’ve come back to a problem first thing in the morning and had it resolved within a few minutes. While the night before I was mentally fatigued and not thinking clearly and battled with the same issue for a good hour.

    Working fresh is definitely a good thing.

    • http://www.hjssolutions.com Lee

      That happens to me all the time. A fresh pair of eyes in the morning are better and more productive than a tired set at 8:00pm.

    • Dylan

      My experience says that most late night problems won’t be fixed by working even later. I’ve stayed hours after finish time trying to fix a bug, only to fix it within half hour in the morning.

  • http://elliotjaystocks.com Elliot Jay Stocks

    I couldn’t agree more, mate. I’ve always had a problem with this, and especially the whole notion that you should work more hours when you start freelancing. It’s ridiculous!

  • http://blogs.ecs.soton.ac.uk/webteam/ Christopher Gutteridge

    Generally good advice and I think that I maintain a healthy work/pub balance. The web is never won, there’s always more you can do to improve a site, or another mailing list to monitor, so it’s about where to draw the line. I try and make sure that I have about 4 hours of unavoidable work a day (meetings and email), that way I can choose to work more than 8 hours but I don’t feel I have to.

    However you are not quite right about the deathbed thing. I know that I write good code. Not the best, but it’s useful to other people. I suspect I will die wishing I’d created more. In my spare time I like to write code for fun. But most people don’t have the bug as bad as I do. I’m surrounded by the ghosts of tools, libraries and datasets which want me to create them. Some very useful. Others, not so much. I recently spent a weekend defining a URI scheme and RDF schema for Chess. I’ve shrunk the URL to preserve page layout: http://is.gd/eCKgt

  • http://martinlucas.co.uk Martin Lucas

    Agree completely, I’m currently going through the hustle and working a day job while taking on freelance web work to hopefully move over to full-time freelancing in the future. I don’t like working late nights but sometimes they are a necessity to get the job done on time. I try to pad projects out so I don’t have too much on at once, and I’m also putting a few hours into my photography and video work each week to get me out of just web work indoors. Oh, and I also DJ at the weekends – which is completely non web related.

    Overall I don’t quite have the balance perfectly set yet, but I’m getting there!

  • http://www.alan-horne.com/blog Alan

    Couldn’t agree more, my company have gave me work to last the next month or so, without any area to manouver anything extra that comes along.

    Needless to say 8 days into it and I’m 2 days behind due to new work being allocated. Yet I’m expected to now work late to do the work I was supposed to do.

    I love my job, but I can’t do long hours in the days, I need my rest and I need to chill, be it sports, a film or playing a game.

    Great post Paul.

  • http://www.creativebedlam.com/ Matt Morse (@mut1ey)

    I totally agree with the whole ‘work/life balance’ ethic but there are also exceptions, whereby long hours are required; Paul did touch upon this when he mentioned making the transition to freelance, as many of us are, the long hours are required when you’re still maintaining the day job.

    I work an 8 hour day, have a 2 hour break and then work a further 6 hours to cater to my freelance clients. But, as I said at the beginning of my comment, I agree completely with the work/life balance, it has to be maintained for you AND your family, therefore I have a strict rule NOT to work Friday nights and weekends. Routine helps a lot – and a stubborn wife.

  • http://edmundojr.com Edmundo Junior

    I’m this kind of people who are proud of working long hours :o

    But I like your point, normally we use to think the web is the whole world, when is not.

    Anyway, time to get some sleep :P

  • http://iglobtech.com Ankit

    Excellent post :) I feel the same about my work however could not maintain always the same, because of deadlines !

    But surely, this would help more people to manage their selves by organizing work distribution and a team work efforts might take some of your headache !

    keep up sharing good posts like this :)

    thanks !

  • http://adactio.com/ Jeremy Keith

    I never thought I’d find myself writing these words but…

    I agree with you, Paul.

    • http://headscape.co.uk/people/boag.html Paul Boag

      I have come over all feint ;-)

  • ArminC

    I agree with you. Even if you enjoy your work very much you should still make time for things like friends, family, hobbys, basicly stuff that will get you refreshed and that makes you more than simply what your work title is.

  • http://writeforyourlife.net Iain Broome | Write for Your Life

    Over the weekend I got royally told off by my future-wife for referring to our upcoming wedding as needing to have a really good user experience.

    She also said she hated the word ‘usability’. ‘What does it even mean?’ she said. ‘It sounds like marketing jargon.’

    My explanation fell on deaf ears. I’ve decided to take a little more time away from the screen.

    • http://www.friskdesign.com Matt Hill

      I probably shouldn’t have laughed at this Iain, but it’s things like that that really show how important it is that we step away from our work as much as we can. Good luck with the user experience of your wedding :-)

  • JStew

    I agree and sympathise with Matt’s predicament. Do I wish that every boss or company think like Paul? Sure. But with the current job market, we just have to grind our teeth and do what’s given to us and wait for other opportunities to come around.

  • http://bitsnbobs.info/ James Fenton

    Well said!

    It is very easy for freelancers and home workers to fall into this trap. Though often a culture arises in within an office/studio environment where people try to out do each other as to who stays longest, who is still checking emails at 3am, who is the first at their desks in the morning. Strangely enough these are the same people who spend all day whinging about how hard their lot is.

    I don’t buy it. I love my job, though also love all the other aspects of my life.

    Work hard and rest well. Its a very simple pattern and one which can continue pretty much indefinately.

  • http://jamesduncombe.com James Duncombe

    Couldn’t agree more!

    However, I think it’s easier for some people to rule the hours they work.

    I must admit, I’ve shifted my mentality on this. As a freelancer I thought “I must work a ‘normal’ number of hours a week”. I’ve since thought that actually I must work smarter, get more done and undercut the amount of hours I’m working. That’s the goal anyway!

    Thanks again for the article!

  • http://www.spookstudio.com/blog Laurence McCahill

    Totally agree Paul. I used to freelance a lot years ago in different companies and would always get funny looks from the permanent staff when I left on time, despite the fact I’d got all my work done. But they were the ones standing around chatting until late in the evening. For a lot of people work is also their social life…

    I wrote a similar blog post about how too many distractions and ‘work fidgets’ prevent us from being more effective and creative at work: http://bit.ly/bDQpLK

    Some books worth reading on this topic:
    – 4 Hour Workweek book by Tim Ferris
    – The Minimalist Workday by Everett Bogue (free e-book here http://www.farbeyondthestars.com/minimalist-workday)
    – And of course Rework by 37 Signals.

  • Andy

    Good post Paul and I think that works well when people work ‘The Day Job’ but there are such varied lifestyles around, 1 size doesn’t fit all.

    For example, low income individuals may be required to work more than 1 job to keep things afloat and things moving forward – so there is the element of people being in a sticky situation and working to get out of it.

    I was one of the Twitterers replying to yourself saying I love working longer hours. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be said for fitting in friends and family but it also depends what you’re striving for in life in terms of goals. I founded and am currently the MD of 3 businesses, so long hours are lovingly put into each business to get the most out of them in terms of revenue.

    I do have teams working in each of the business so they aren’t ‘1 man bands’ so I’m not being forced to work the long hours, but I love what I do and like to give them a clear direction and also support my teams. I don’t have to work the long hours though, I choose and love to work the long hours and if I didn’t work the hours I do, I’d only waste it on computer games or watching TV – quite frankly, running businesses are my hobbies and my ‘computer games’, only in the real world.

    I hope this post doesn’t come across as overly critical Paul, I respect you as a person and think Headscape/Boagworld are great brands. Just giving a different spin spin on yoru post – hope it’s taken that way.

    Andy Bradbury

    • http://headscape.co.uk/people/boag.html Paul Boag

      Andy, anybody is more than welcome to disagree with me. What I would say to you is that just because you would waste your free time does not make free time important. To be honest there is another post in how to best use your free time. I would agree with you that computer games and TV are not the best use. However, there are other things you could be doing which would be good for you as an individual and also good for your businesses.

    • http://www.helikopta.com Bill

      There’s a great book on how we use our free time called: “Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age”. – Amazon it.

      Paul your post told me exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time.

      I find work load fluctuates in cycles depending on which sector you service and the season. In Toronto, we worked way more during winter when it’s freezing out. In summer we had almost every Friday off to drink outside in the sun. Also helps to have a modern-minded boss like the folks at Headscape.

  • http://www.elementfreelance.com Jason Hassig

    Enjoyed the post. I only freelance a little on the side, not full time anymore. Now I am employed full time doing graphic, web, and whatever else gets handed down that needs done. I have 4 bosses over me, most with different needs and projects, and they all seem to like to filter down work to me from other people. Everyone around me seems stressed a lot and talks about how much they have to get done.

    However, despite lots of projects, incredibly tight deadlines, miscommunication, and so on, I find myself getting to the office a few min late and normally leaving right around five (I’d leave earlier if it wasn’t be frowned upon). I rarely feel stressed, have plenty of time to peruse blogs and even some personal design projects, and get all my work done. I’m not lazy and I’m not dropping the ball. Somehow or another I have just learned to work very quickly and efficiently.

    Padding projects is also very important. If someone comes in needing some changes on the website, I tell them it will be done later this week (even if I can easily do it in the next 30min). This way, if I get it done that afternoon then awesome, but if 2-3 people come in right after all needed things too that are higher priority then I still have all week to finalize those web changes.

  • http://www.jasonagross.com Jason Gross

    I honestly can’t decide where I stand on this subject. I do agree that too much of anything is a bad thing and if you overwork yourself on a daily basis you can be less productive than if you were rested.

    However, if extra work yield higher benefits then what’s wrong with that? If you are trying to launch yourself into a more successful position and need to put in extra hours to do that then it’s simply what you’ve got to do. Once you have achieve the success you want then you have an opportunity to sit back a little bit and relax.

    I will say that overworking yourself just for the sake of bragging to everyone about how hard of a worker you are is pretty dumb. But overworking yourself because you want to make a better life for yourself, support your family, or reach a higher plateau seems just fine in my books.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post Paul.

  • http://oreanarose.com Jenna

    I wonder if another reason that people work long hours is so they can make other people feel guilty about not working as much. I used to have a boss who was always at the office it seemed, and although she didn’t outright say “I work x hours a day, so you should be able to do this extra thing” it felt like she expected us to follow her example and put in extra work. I don’t think she was ever more happy or productive for working long hours. It was not a great company culture.

    • Tim

      You’re so right Jenna.

      I would rather model myself on someone who is consistent, focussed and efficient and works a strict 8 hour day, than someone who just pulls long hours.

      I say efficiency, focus, life balance and achieving your goals is the new black :)

  • http://www.amberweinberg.com Amber Weinberg

    I usually agree, but sometimes find it’s necessary to work those long hours…like when you’re already booked, but a large famous client approaches you for last minute work (which happened to me last week) You have to decide what’s more important. Your extra time for a few weeks, or the client.

    • http://www.kiraproject.net Jessica

      I think that we need to respect our time, I work for living- not live for the work. For me is very important to see my family and friends and to be well rested so that I have a better performance. I know that sometimes we have to stay more hours to finish a project, just try not to make this a everyday practice.

  • http://www.twitter.com/emilysmith Emily Smith

    This post made me think of two words: time tracking.

    The best way to improve your efficiency is to identify your inefficiencies. Guesses might help but they also could be totally off base and you’ll never be able to identify patterns. This applies for freelancers and employees alike (and if you are employee that doesn’t care how inefficient or unmotivated you are at work, then beware that it may get worse if you freelance.).

    It’s the same principle behind having a budget for your money. Giving constraints to these things in your life allows for great freedom!

  • http://www.mentha.hu plas

    ..Yesss, it is veeery-veeeeery important FOR YOUR HEALTH TOO, to be off after your computer work, IF you spend at least 8 hours/day in front of a machine. Take a little break in every 1 or 2 hours (with no smokin’ :) ), and after you finished your daily todo, go outdoor and having fun with friends/family/dog/etc.. the most important thing: don’t continue the “sitting-infrontof-your-computer” even if you think for example gaming is just a fun on a computer.. Leave your brain and eyeballs refreshing by being on the sun, thinking anything else than what you have to at your job.. ;) I hope it’s understandable what i “blah”-ed here :D ;) Cheers!

  • http://www.davidrcole.com David Cole

    Love the article, it tells us much of the culture we live and work in! I believe in the value (and NECESSITY) of rest and recreation, which I think you’re expressing as well, but I felt the struggle in your article of needing to “defend” that value with arguments about how resting makes us better workers! Why is rest and recreation only valuable because it translates into increased efficiency and bottom-line profitability? Does anyone else believe that rest and recreation are in-and-of-themselves valuable?

    I find this “work-as-the-center-of-my-identity” everywhere in our country–not only on the web, not only in design, but even in any corporate work environment. Those who are willing to work long hours and make personal sacrifices “for the good of the company” are rewarded and praised. Those who prioritize family or other things are seen as having “other priorities” (pejorative euphemism!) and dismissed/overlooked by others.

    Thanks for posting about this, I hope our peers are provoked to examine what they value and whether they’re aligning their lives consistently!

    I love your last line: “At the end of the day nobody reaches their death bed wishing they had worked longer hours.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Niubi

    Can’t agree more – there’s too much of a driven work ethic in people when there’s so much more to life than that! Think about it – don’t work hard, work ‘smart’. And that’s what the internet and telecommuting is enabling us to do, praise the lord! Just look at DubLi Network and you’ll see what I mean – there’s simply no reason for us to grind away any longer.

  • http://www.92pixels.com Arslan

    I’ve always had a problem with this, and especially the whole notion that you should work more hours when you start freelancing.

  • http://www.mapledesign.co.uk Peter Bowyer

    Do you count tweeting as work Paul? ’cause you’re still tweeting about work-related stuff at 7pmish :)

  • http://www.davidleeking.com david lee king

    Nice post, and I agree with you – good work requires good rest and good play, too.

    Easy for me to say, harder for me to do! I still need to figure that bit out – my “normal job” keeps me busy, but that’s not the hard part. The speaking/blogging/authoring/video stuff I do on the side have developed to the point of being a second part-time job. Which is cool! But also keeps me working when I’m not “at work.”

    I’ve adapted, and say that “it’s a season, things will change.” So we’ll see.

    But – right on – good post!

  • Roger White

    I think this post is a great reminder to all of us.

    There has been plenty of occasions that I have put my work before my family, but that has not always been my choice – due to the nature of my job. Those that I do have a choice in and I have opted to work have put a huge strain not just on me but those around me as well.

    In this life, especially with technology, at the grasp at our fingers, we do have to manage our lives better and not to waste the time we have.

    A man (I think) once said “Live long and prosper”, and I’m not even a treky fan!

  • Tim

    Hi Paul,

    I think it’s important to have an awareness of your goals at work and at home and be smart enough to avoid spending excess time on things you should NOT be working on – i.e. things that are unimportant and that do not contribute to your goals. It is so easy to fill up your day with ad hoc miscelanaea, random requests and interruptions from others, and convenient distractions that have no relationship to your goals and what you are trying to achieve.

    Then at the end of the day or week you find that you have not made the progress you had hoped for on the things that really matter and that are core to your role.

    Eventually these neglected ‘big ticket items’ fall due and this is where some of the long days and all-nighters can stem from. Sadly we are prepared to pull all nighters to meet work deadlines, when our personal goals have been neglected we treat them as dispensable.

    Stephen Covey developed the quadrant for defining what is most important to be working on, and I think understanding the interplay between items of various importance and urgency is key to maximising your focus and time spent on the things that matter most.

    It is ~absolutely~ possible to achieve a good balance, achieve your goals and enjoy all areas of your life within the boundaries of an 8 hour work day if you are ruthless about what you will and won’t work on. No-one should have to sacrifice sleep or personal time to keep up at work – if you do then something is definitely wrong.

    Thanks again for a great post Paul.

    Tim

  • wing

    Totally agree with you…
    No-one should have to sacrifice sleep or personal time to keep up at work – if you do then something is definitely wrong.

    always believe that there are 3 types of messages in this world:
    1. you know what you know: you know you can design, u know u luv sport
    2. you know what you dont know: u know you dont know to swim…
    3. you dont know what you dont know: this is what blocking us from success…so try to absorb new info…to achieve a life style you want soonest…

  • Poonam

    Excellent Article i completely agree with it…….. thnx :)

  • http://www.theunifiedwebtheory.com carlmagnus

    I once heard a Swedish employer organization representative say:
    “If you work unpaid overtime you are incompetent at what you do – or a bad negotiator who can’t get the managers to understand the amount of work needed for your job!”

  • http://www.dradept.com Christina

    When working in London for other companies I often found I was snowed under, like everyone else, and worked long hours. I also found when times where slow we all still worked long hours, because we felt we had to. Nobody wanted to be the last in the office in the morning or the first out in the evening – I would love to know how this started :( and all everyone ever did was talk about how late they worked last night.

    I now run my own business and only work late on occasions, maybe because I don’t waste time in meetings, or perhaps because I no longer get interrupted throughout the day but I try to stick to a 7 hour day.

  • http://www.2ndfloordesigns.co.uk Chris Wharton

    Paul, I do agree with your post in principle, in fact it’s one of the reasons I went freelance – to have more control over my hours. However, do you think that everyone needs to experience the long hard hours before they get to a point in their career where they are confident in what they do? – then they decide to keep their hours to 40 or less a week?

    Personally, I find it can be exciting working through the night on important projects – as a infrequent occurrence. The problem you have is sustainability, no one can work at a consistently high level for a prolonged period whilst working around the clock. It’s also good for the soul to realise that you are going to have to put in more hours to hit a deadline, but only if you learn from it and avoid a situation like it next time.

    There is a kind of path to righteousness in my mind, you have to take the rubbish jobs, the super low pay, the nightmare clients and long hours early in your career to get your grounding. You build up your skills and your portfolio and then move on to bigger and better things, this is where the hours and pay seem to be easier to control, not so much on the nightmare clients.

  • http://www.rohnerstudios.com Angela

    Paul, I completely agree. I realized a while ago that I need more time in my life to spend with family and friends – and away from the computer. Working 9-hour days and commuting 2-3 hours each day wipes away my entire week – barely enough time to eat dinner in the evenings. The amount of hours you work for yourself or that your company sets as working hours are not set in stone. If more companies and individuals would come together to find ways to be more productive in less hours so that more time could be spent actually living, I think it would be a much more relaxed and pleasant society.

  • http://www.freedomstudios.co.za Graham

    This article is spot on! I used to work so much because I had ‘so much work’ but in reality I started becoming less productive as time went along. I eventually almost burnt out because of working to much. Now I get pretty much the same amount done in an 8 hour day and my family is a lotr happier with me too ;)

  • http://lapsusapp.co.uk John Gallagher

    Completely agree. Now I’m in the lucky position to be able to choose my own working hours, I rarely manage to work more than a 30 hour week. I can’t even seem to do 40 any more.

    Even 8 hours a day working is an awful lot of time. We shouldn’t be working any more than this and I’d advocate for a 4-5 hour working day.

  • Bob Reid

    Dear Paul,
    I mostly agree, on the point of employment-related work. There are, however, times when you must work a little overtime (OT), here and there, to help keep the lights on. IT and OT have always gone together and, I suspect, will for some time to come. BTW, I’m including all things web as IT.

    Before the web, there was client-server, PC programming, mini computers, and CAD/CAM. Having made a living by way of keyboard for 37 years, I’ve always given a solid day’s work to my employer but reserved evenings and weekends for personal technical training, exploring whatever interests me. Not surprisingly, my personal R&D time make me a better employee, usually solves a problem for my employer, and often results in my learning the next technology before others.

    Plan on working OT in IT but use it to improve your skills and keep you employable. Better yet, start your own business and really see the meaning and benefits of working overtime for your company.
    Bob

  • http://marketingninjacat.wordpress.com/ Marketing Ninja Cat

    Sometimes we forget, that the 8 hour norm is not some arbitrary number a lazy bum came up with to avoid work.

    Decades of experience and research shows, that there is no difference in efficiency weather we work 8 or 10 hours, and there is a steep decline of efficiency when we breach the 10 hours for longer than a week. This is very valid for intellectual workers, not just those that do physical work.

  • http://www.supremewebsolutions.com Blair Nichols

    Work smart not hard, streamline your procedures, set up your working environment to work for you, invest in technology where needed and come to work ready to do exactly that…. WORK

  • http://www.barndoorhardware.net Dan

    How true, most people don’t know that its not the hours they put IN the work, its the work they do IN the hours.

  • http://forsakenworldhq.com/ Sebastian

    I always wandered who in the first place came up with the idea of 8 working hours a days. With 9 to 5 jobs I never felt productive being told I have to give my best from this time to this time 5 days a week. You have different days with different moods and energy level in different time periods, yet you are required to perform on the same level at any given time. Took me a few years to realise that I was born a human being, not a machine, so I left the 9 to 5 circus (actually it was 8 to 4) and hope I never go back. Wish me luck please :)

  • Bob Reid

    Apparently, the “I agree with you” majority do not have 24×7 website operations to maintain. That’s one of the benefits of being a web designer, without other implied job titles and duties. You often don’t have to support that which you have created. Enjoy it while it lasts. Even though I have staff on call rotation, monitoring operations 24×7 by cell phone and laptop, I typically end up monitoring and responding to site operations-related email requests from ~5:00AM in to the evening hours, plus most of Saturday and Sunday. If you truly like web design, and have a job that permits you to work 40 hours pper less per week, then you are living the web designer dream. Enjoy it while it lasts and use your spare time to improve your skills, providing free design services to non-profit and charitable organizations. It will look great on your resume.

    • Bob Reid

      I’d like to reply to my own comment of 19/11/2010 by saying: it was a very long day when I wrote that comment. I didn’t mean to be so negative.

      I still recommend helping non-profit and charitable organization, though. It’s another way to perfect your craft, create a portfolio, and help out.

      //Bob

  • http://iamautocomplete.com Angelee

    People work for long hours mostly because of deadlines and not really getting ahead of others. Sometimes, we just reasoned it out as passion (some are really passionate though) until we realize it’s no longer a healthy madness. I’ve read some good things about a lot of people being successful because they’re wiser than their tickling clock.

    But, success follows sacrifice. Thanks for speaking PAUL… wish more people will hear you!…

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