Much shorter weeks

Quite liked this piece, not necessarily because of anything specifically new to me but because it regroups a number of things together in one read, concerning shorter days and weeks. Focus capacity, length of days, number of days, mental mode, walking, etc.

It doesn’t matter how long you spend in the office, chances are you aren’t working productively for 8 hours a day.

Instead, data and surveys from around the world have found that modern workers are only truly productive for a maximum of 2 hours and 50 minutes a day. 

But what about the other 5+ hours? They’re spent on non-work activities like reading the news or social media, socializing with coworkers, taking breaks, or lost to multitasking, context switching, and endless meetings.

There’s no productivity gain from working more than 40 hours, the opposite actually.

You can only focus for short periods of time:

“The idea that you can indefinitely stretch out your deep focus and productivity time to these arbitrary limits is really wrong. It’s self-defeating.”

Instead, research shows that attention spans being to decay significantly after 20 minutes while most people require a break every 50-90 minutes.

Even better, working shorter hours–whether it’s a four-day workweek or shorter days–has been shown to increase productivity, inspire creative ideas, and keep teams happier and healthier.

It then dives into how to use a specific product, RescueTime, to achieve shorter days and a shorter week but here are still good ideas for people using any kind of system. Two main points for me: rewire your brain for focus, and reconsider your priorities.

Singletasking and focusing for long periods of time are superpowers. In fact, some researchers say that a highly focused hour is up to 500% more productive than one where you bounce between tasks, emails, and calls.

Your new normal schedule should be built around optimizing for focus at all costs. This will take some work. But to rebuild your focus you need to do two things.