How Many Hours A Week Should Your Really Be Working?

Today’s question plagues office workers, remote workers and digital nomads alike: how many hours should you really be working? Is the standard 40-hour week a productivity sweet spot, or a relic of the industrial age? 

Today we’re diving into the research to reveal the optimal workweek schedule for maximum output and well-being and then giving you 5 tips on how to make sure that you’re working the right number of hours.

First , let’s start by ditching the assumption that more hours equals getting more done. 

Recent research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology titled “Dose-Response Effects of Work Hours on Employee Outcomes” challenges this idea. 

Researchers tracked nearly 50,000 workers and found a U-shaped relationship between work hours and productivity. 

What this means is that scientists found that productivity actually decreases after 50 hours a week. 

Even worse they found that skipping that full day off can negatively impact your hourly output. 

So, over 50 hours seems like a hard “no” but is there a magic number for peak performance below that?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, studies and experts point towards a sweet spot between 35 and 45 hours for optimal productivity. Keep in mind that this actual hours worked, not how many hours you were “in the office” or “in front of your computer”. This is actual work.

Individual factors like your job type, personality, and energy levels play a crucial role in figuring out the right amount of hours for you.

A short task type job might thrive in shorter bursts, while a writer, software engineer or accountant might excel in longer, focused stretches.

So, how do you unlock your working hours per week sweet spot? Follow this 5 things…

  1. Track your time: Become aware of how you actually spend your work hours. Are you in a constant state of busyness, or are there stretches of unproductive distractions? Tracking your time reveals hidden patterns and potential for improvement.

  2. Prioritize ruthlessly: Not all tasks are created equal. Identify your most critical tasks and projects, and ruthlessly filter out the rest. Delegate, automate, or simply say no to what doesn’t contribute to your core goals.

  3. Embrace focused work: Multitasking is one of the biggest productivity killers. Instead, block out dedicated time for deep work sessions, free from distractions, to maximize your output and minimize mental fatigue.

  4. Listen to your body and mind: Are you an early bird or a night owl? Experiment with your most productive times and schedule demanding tasks accordingly. Pay attention to your energy levels, lean in when they’re high to take advantage of the moment and take breaks when you’re running low and need a short rest.
  5. Experiment and iterate: There’s no magic formula, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different workweeks, schedules, and techniques. Find what works best for you and  monitor yourself to make sure you’re in your sweet spot.

Remember: Productivity isn’t just about squeezing in more hours, it’s about working smarter.

By prioritizing, focusing, and respecting your energy needs, you can create a workweek that fuels your output, nourishes your well-being and get more done than you ever thought possible.

Your move!

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