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Get It Done!

Emphasize Productivity Over Hours

During this forced WFH era, we have heard about longer hours, fewer breaks, endless meetings and rising cases of burnout. At one point, I even attached a “MOVE” sign to my computer screen to simply remind myself to get up from my desk throughout the day.

What we seem to have lost sight of is productivity. In fact, I was talking with a friend recently who felt like she had wasted a day because she didn’t feel focused for the full day. It was simply an “off” day for her. We all have them.

However, now that we are working from home, we don’t seem to be allowed to have them or feel guilty when we do. So, I reminded her that the average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes, and the most productive are engaged for 6 hours in a workday.

Upon hearing these numbers, she emitted a sigh of relief and uttered, “Well, I definitely worked for 3 hours.” This is a reminder that we don’t have to be chained to our desks, in our seats and in front of Zoom all day in order for it to be a productive day.

Now, if you want to take the concept of productivity to another level, you could think strategically about how to plan productivity into your day and work less hours overall (ala Tim Ferriss).  But that conversation is for a subsequent post.

In case you are curious, here is a list for how we spend the rest of the 8 hours in a given workday:

  • 16% on emails;
  • 11% on useful and/or productive meetings;
  • 11% on administrative tasks;
  • 10% on wasteful meetings;
  • 8% on non-essential interruptions; and
  • 5% on everything else, i.e. coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, etc.

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