The eight-hour workday is an old and inefficient approach. To reach a higher level of productivity, you have to give up this obsolete method and find a new one.
This model was created during the industrial revolution with the aim of reducing the number of hours of manual labor that employees were forced to perform in factories. This rupture meant a more humane approach to work 200 years ago but has little relevance to us today.
A recent study, convoyed by the Draugiem Group, used a computer program to monitor employees’ work habits. The tool measured specifically how much time people spent on various tasks and compared that data to their productivity levels.
During its execution, the survey came across a finding: the length of the workday does not matter much – what makes a difference is how people structure time. In particular, people who take short breaks regularly are much more productive than those who work without interruption for more extended periods.
The ideal proportion between work and interval found by the study was 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of rest. People who keep this schedule have a unique level of focus at work. For almost an hour per step, they were 100% dedicated to the task they needed to complete, without checking Facebook or distracting themselves with emails. When they get tired, they make quick breaks, during which they are completely distracted from work. This helps them to face the next phase renewed.
People who have discovered this magical proportion of productivity will destroy their competition because they understand a fundamental need of the human mind: the brain functions naturally in high energy impulses (of almost one hour) followed by low energy impulses (15 to 20 minutes).
This decrease and this natural flow of energy cause most people to varying between periods of much focus followed by much less productive periods, when they tire and succumb to distractions.
The best way to combat exhaustion and frustrating distractions is to plan your workday. Instead, work for an hour or more and then try to fight distractions and tiredness, when your productivity starts to drop, use this as a sign that it’s time for a break.
Actual stops are easier to do when you know they are going to make your day more productive. We often let tiredness win because we continue to work despite it (long after we have lost our energy and focus), and the intervals we take are not real (checking your email and watching videos on YouTube does not recharge it in the same way that’s a quick walk).
The eight-hour workday can work if you break your time at strategic intervals. Once you align your natural energy with your effort, things begin to happen much more smoothly.