Why The 40 Hour Work Week Is A Complete And Utter Lie (Part 2)
“All I do is work.
Even when I’m with my family I’m still responding to emails and texts for work. The saddest part is that my family have just gotten used to it. When I do actually put down my smart phone they act surprised, as if I’m a just a temporary visitor.”
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review reported on an international study by the Center for Creative Leadership. It shows that professionals, executives, and business owners in the U.S. and 36 other countries now work a whopping 72-hour week. The study says this group only averages about three hours a day for “discretionary” time during workdays for things like exercise, eating, and errands.
Thanks to technology you can check your email in bed, sneak in calls during soccer practice and send emails from the bathroom. It’s a glorious world – that is really messing with your productivity.
But emails and cell phones aren’t the only thing getting in the way of growing your business.
Here are 2 more reasons you can’t get away:
1. Faulty Models:
Somehow, we have fooled ourselves into thinking that if we only work harder, longer, faster that somehow we can work our way out of this hole. It’s like someone stuck at the bottom of a deep pit shoveling away. When you ask them how they plan on getting out they shout up, “I’ll just dig faster!”
There have been many times in my business career where if you were to observe my behaviors you’d have to conclude that my strategy was one of “digging faster”. I’ve felt, like you’ve probably felt, that I was dying a death of a thousand cuts, overwhelmed and exhausted.
2. Outdated Time Habits
The world today is fundamentally different than the world we evolved to thrive in. In the first world today, an abundance of calories has caused an epidemic of obesity and lifestyle diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. We evolved for a world in which food was scarce, where sugar meant fruits with their precious nutrients, and fat meant the calories we needed to survive a long winter.
In much the same way our time sense evolved in a business world where time and effort were once the thing for which we were paid. Time and effort were the measures of how we performed. But that has shifted over time, and with the changes of modern communication and technology, brute strength and raw hours mean a lot less than they did centuries ago.
The changing 24/7, interconnected world has completely changed the way we live and work. But most of us simply haven’t updated our time habits to create the buffers, filters, and systems we need to effectively and sustainably produce in this “always on” world we now live in.
So if you want to break this final chain, it will require that you rethink your outdated time habits and confront cultural elements that are deeply rooted in your company.