Back in 1916, the British government decided that cutting back on work hours and giving a day of rest increased productivity of factory workers working to keep the war machine in arms.
A guy named Pencavel from Stanford University dug up the government report and decided to put it to the test. His results are interesting.
He actually put some numbers to the report.
“[B]elow 49 weekly hours, variations in output are proportional to variations in hours; for those observations corresponding to 49 or more hours, output rises with hours at a decreasing rate and a maximum of output occurs at about 63 hours. Output at 70 hours differs little from output at 56 hours”
Even God knew the value of a day of rest and took one out of 7 in creating the world.
So, 49 hours is the magic number and having a 6 day workweek is best for productivity.
There are some other things that can make you work more efficiently.
Take a walk at lunch time and get some daily exercise. Your cardiovascular system is made for working. Only in this age of information and machines do we not walk everywhere and do heavy manual labor. Exercise can boost up your mood and helps you handle stress.
Working in 90 minute sprints is optimal. Work for 90 minutes at a time then get up and move around, drink some water and do some deep breathing.
If it takes less than 2 minutes – do it. Don’t put it off. Those 2 minute things can add up to a big job. Writing an email reply or making a phone call are short tasks.
Make a card file of 10 minute jobs. When I was a young mother, I found that it was really difficult to keep on top of things. Jobs would pile up until they became daunting tasks. I found a system from The Sidetracked Home Executives that made life a whole lot easier. They advised making a card file with categorized jobs most of which could be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. Working at something for 10 minutes and then stopping made it less intimidating. It’s all perception. It worked for the kids too. I’d set a timer and told them they had to pick up and clean up until the timer went off. It was less daunting for them too. So dividing your day into bite sized chunks is a great tactic.