Scientist Talks About A 3-Hour Workday
According to a study performed in 2016, the average person spends close to 3 hours actually working during an average workday. And it’s not actually 3 hours, but 2 hours and 53 minutes to be more exact. The study was performed in the UK on 1,989 office workers.
This study has shown that in a workweek, these people spent that amount of time doing actual work, while the remaining 5 hours were spent on reading the news, browsing social media, talking with co-workers about non-work stuff, eating, taking smoking breaks, looking for another job and so on.
This phenomenon was known for a while. Other studies have shown that people can only concentrate on a task only 20 minutes at a time, with some people struggling to stay on task for more than 10 seconds. In an average workday, productivity completely flattens by the end of the program, or it even worsens.
K. Anders Ericsson, an expert on the psychology of work, said that “If you’re pushing people well beyond that time they can really concentrate maximally, you’re very likely to get them to acquire some bad habits.”
Ericsson is an expert at how people build expertise and has been studying the most successful people on Earth, trying to see what brought them there in the first place. And as it turns out, the saying that “practice makes perfect” is true, but only if it’s “deliberate practice.” You won’t get anywhere if you’re forced into it. Experts can spend hours on a task and hone in their skills, but the thing is that they actually want to do it.
As it turns out, if people are pushed beyond the point of peak effectiveness, then their bad habits, like procrastination, can spill into their other tasks as well. In other words, if people log on to Facebook in the evenings regularly, they might not feel as bad to do it in the morning too – which is oftentimes the case, isn’t it?
Company CEOs, like Ryan Carson from the technology education company Treehouse has shortened the average workweek to 32 hours back in 2006 and has since seen a boost in employee happiness and productivity. Others, on the other hand, have decided to shorten the workweek, rather the workday. Though appealing, it might not be as effective.
“It’s not about more family time, or more play time, or less work time – it’s about living a more balanced total life,” Carson said. “We basically take ridiculously good care of people because we think it’s the right thing to do.”
“Employers may actually be getting much more out of their employees,” Ericsson said, “if they only work 50 or 75 percent of the current work hours.”