Breaks are Good for Productivity

I’ve been trying to break the productivity code for almost 10 years now. I tried overwork, that can only last for a few weeks before signs of burnout set in. I tried hyper productive work, getting the most done in a short amount of time, that works really well but leaves me feeling too frazzled by the time I get home. Now I’m wondering if the true path towards being a very effective employee might just be not working too hard and planning out long term productivity and health.

Derek Thompson talking about Henry Ford:

In the mid-1920s, the auto giant reduced his factories’ workweek from six days to five, and 48 hours to 40, after discovering that productivity returns diminished steadily after his workers toiled eight hours a day, five days a week.

“We know from our experience in changing from six to five days and back again that we can get at least as great production in five days as we can in six,” Ford said. “Just as the eight hour day opened our way to prosperity, so the five day week will open our way to a still greater prosperity.”

Numerous studies has shown that productivity turns sharply negative as we move beyond 40 hour weeks.

Even writing this post makes me feel an odd sense of guilt. Need to track down what that’s all about.