Why Working Less Makes You More Productive

Let’s be honest – some days it’s really hard to get up and be productive. Thinking of the all the work you have ahead of you for the day can be discouraging. That’s why Mondays have such a reputation for, well…kind of sucking. Mondays are a rough reminder that your two days of weekend bliss are over and you now have the whole work week ahead of you.

But, what if you didn’t? What if you had a day off in the middle of your week, or you got to come home two hours early every day? Would that motivate you to get up? Would you feel better about the week ahead? Studies say, yes you would. Not only would you feel better, but you’d be even more productive in all your work!

Over the past few years, there’s been tons of discussion from scientists, theorists and economists about how working fewer hours can increase the total productivity of employees. While this may sound counter-intuitive, it seems that they might be onto something.

Now if you’re a workaholic, you might not see how this could benefit you at all, but just think of it for a minute. We all have those days where our brains feel a little exhausted and we’re left wishing we could just pack up early. We also have those days where we feel we’ve been working non-stop, but by the end of it we’re not really sure what we’ve accomplished. Imagine if those last two hours you spend staring at your screen not really doing anything could be replaced by you getting home early and recharging so you can return tomorrow and start fresh. That doesn’t sound like a bad idea, does it?

It’s been proven that having less time to complete a task often leads to it being attended to much quicker. In that respect, a shorter work day (say about 6 hours) would technically give you less time to complete your work for that day – but it might just keep you motivated enough to get everything done on time.

Swedish businesses are especially praised for their concern of the work-life balance of their employees. Over 10 years ago, a Toyota service center in the country cut the shifts of mechanics, this led to an increase in profits and the company stuck with the idea ever since. A few other employers in Sweden have actually begun enforcing a 6-hour work day which has also yielded pleasant results. While it is still too early to draw firm conclusions, employees working shorter hours do report being less stressed and happier in general.

Now, we’re not sure that this will become a widespread practice anytime soon. So even if your work hours aren’t going to be cut, you can still try to increase your productivity in a number of ways. The number one being…taking your breaks! You have them for a reason.

We know some days it might be hard to move away from your desk because you have so much to do. But even if it’s just for 5 minutes - look away from the screen, do some quick stretches, listen to a song, take a quick walk around or out of the office. Do anything to give your brain a chance to disengage from work and relax for a few minutes. Guaranteed that when you get back to your desk you’ll feel at least a little better! It’s important to take these moments to change the pace, because doing one thing for hours on end will certainly suck the energy out of you and make you less productive overall.

 

Let us know what you think of your overall productivity during the week. Is 40 hours the perfect amount? Do you think you’d get more work done if you worked less? Would you rather have a full day off or just work a little less each day? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear what you think!