“QUALITY IS MUCH BETTER THAN QUANTITY. ONE HOME RUN IS MUCH BETTER THAN TWO DOUBLES.” – Steve Jobs
This is a common concept, certainly not unheard of by most office workers. So why is it that the average employer demands hours over quality?
The 8-hour workday, 40 hours a week, is an outdated, archaic approach to work. This method leaves a person overworked and exhausted, and incapable of effective work, while simultaneously negatively affecting their health.
This antiquated approach dates back to 1866 when political action was made in the US to mandate labour reforms. Since then no major changes have been made to the way that we work. Recent data shows that the average worker does not adhere to the 8-hour work day, but instead will work 47-50 hours a week. For those working in particular industries such as tech or finance often end up working as much as 60 hours a week.
“IT IS HIGH TIME TO RID OURSELVES OF THE NOTION THAT LEISURE FOR WORKMEN IS EITHER LOST TIME OR A CLASS PRIVILEGE.” -Henry Ford
So, what is the alternative to working long, consecutive hours at the office? How can we amplify our productivity while working within this outdated 8-hour standard?
New research shows that the length of your workday is not as effective on your productivity as the way that you structure it. Not so shockingly workers tend to be far more motivated and effective when they take multiple mini breaks throughout the work day.
The magic number?
That means 52 minutes of focused, productive work, followed by a 17-minute break. People tend to get more work done in these relatively short work periods. They treat them like a sprint and work with intensity and purpose. The following 17 minutes is the perfect amount of time to let your brain relax, refresh yourself, and prepare for you for your next work sprint.
The brain works on a curve, with surges of energy and dips of powerlessness. In this way, you are recognizing the natural way your brain works and taking advantage of it. Structuring your day in a way that allows you control of your effectiveness instead of letting your fatigue control you.
So, start your day with intention. Go in knowing that you plan to take these mini breaks approximately every hour and see how it affects you work. Remember scrolling through Facebook or Instagram doesn’t vivify you the way that going on a short walk does.