Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

How much to work?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How much to work?

    Hi
    How much time do you think it is reasonable to spend each day on doing real productive work on an important project?
    I used to work too much and now I want to cut down my actual productive work to just 3 hours a day as suggested in "the now habit" book, the problem is of course that I will get less done but is it really worth it?
    I work for myself and its hard to decide how much to work. I mean after a certain time you lose productivity anyway and also you don't want to work at all the next day after working too much. I want to find some balance.

    And it's not like average office workers do some real productive work for many hours each day. They spend maybe 8 hours at the office but they probably are productive for only 1-3 hours anyway. Not that it matters in my case but it's an example of what's reasonable to expect I think.

    I discovered that I tend to work in binges kind of, I work for weeks without much time for other fun activities and then I tend to heavily procrastinate for days, so I'm thinking maybe I should just try working less.
    What do you think?

    Is 3 hours of work a day too little for a knowledge (creative) worker? Sure you can do widget cranking (physical labor) for hours but what about doing some real productive knowledge work?
    And I'm talking about doing real productive work on a project and in a situation where you're your own boss

  • #2
    Haven't read the book, but isn't 3 hours a day way too little? How would you move projects forward? I would have thought 4-6 would be ideal, with the remaining 2-4 on collaborative time (meetings) and GTD workflow.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah 3 hours does sound like very little but I've tracked the way I spend time for one week and actually averaged 3 hours of real work on the main work project and I've made a huge progress in 20 hours a week and it didn't even feel like work.

      Sure I could've made more progress if I worked for 6 hrs a day and 40 hrs a week, but I doubt it would've been 2x times more progress . Again I'm talking about doing real productive work and not just being busy. And also the more I work the less productive I become in the long run and then I tend to procrastinate anyway. It all really depends on the type of work though.

      Also note that it was 3 hours of very productive work and actually getting important things done and not just being in "work mode" when you kinda decide to work but then get distracted a lot and get very little done. It is possible to spend a whole day in such "work mode" and get nothing done too.
      But when you limit the amount of time for work you tend to really focus and become more productive.

      It does make a lot more sense to work smart instead of working hard. To get a lot of things done because you are very productive and focused and then to also have the time to live an enjoyable life outside of work.

      I would really love to be able to do as much work as possile but the problem is there is only so much meaningful knowledge work you can really do and to be really productive you need to have some recreational time and some clear space too and you want to live a great life too.

      So I want to find some reasonable amount of time you can spend on doing knowledge work without loosing productivity. I think maybe 3 hours is minimum and 5 hours is maximum?
      Last edited by May; 04-18-2011, 01:31 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think the answer is in term productive quality work.

        Also remember 80/20 principle. It says we would get 80% results of our normal 40 hour week in 1.6 daily work hours, if we would work with 100% efficiency.

        So I don't think 3 hours a day is bad. If you manage to do 3 produtive hours a day you probably don't have huge problems. And you can always start doing more work after some time in 3 hours/day speed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by May View Post
          How much time do you think it is reasonable to spend each day on doing real productive work on an important project?
          It varies. For me some days I can work steadily on important projects for 7-8 hours or even longer and on other days I'm lucky if I get 30 minutes of productive work in. On average I feel that I need to be working for about 6-7 hours a day on productive, critical projects or I fall way behind. My typical work day can vary from 2 hours to 12 hours. Farming is not clock driven.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
            It varies. For me some days I can work steadily on important projects for 7-8 hours or even longer and on other days I'm lucky if I get 30 minutes of productive work in. On average I feel that I need to be working for about 6-7 hours a day on productive, critical projects or I fall way behind. My typical work day can vary from 2 hours to 12 hours. Farming is not clock driven.
            Do you mean 6-7 a day of physical work (farming) or knowledge(creative) work?

            Comment


            • #7
              May, I am in the same situation as you and I settled on 4 hours per day. I don't measure them because I like to work in chunks of an hour or two and do loads of coffee-break in between. I came to the 4 hours mark in the same way as you, by thinking about this stuff and so on, and then a very successful freelancer mentioned that he does the 4 hours turn, because more would be too much because you have to process in your mind too. So I thought, if this guy does 4 hours I can't be that wrong with it. Of course it would be nice to have some 'scientific proove' for a certain number or something.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cpu_Modern View Post
                May, I am in the same situation as you and I settled on 4 hours per day. I don't measure them because I like to work in chunks of an hour or two and do loads of coffee-break in between. I came to the 4 hours mark in the same way as you, by thinking about this stuff and so on, and then a very successful freelancer mentioned that he does the 4 hours turn, because more would be too much because you have to process in your mind too. So I thought, if this guy does 4 hours I can't be that wrong with it. Of course it would be nice to have some 'scientific proove' for a certain number or something.
                Thanks for the reply, yeah I agree completely that if you work too much you don't really have enough free space to process/plan things (the big picture) and you might be just doing a lot but with low results overall. And the worst part is that then you also spend less time on personal/fun projects too so you loose in all areas kind of if you work too much.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Farming IS Knowledge Work & Creative!

                  Originally posted by May View Post
                  Do you mean 6-7 a day of physical work (farming) or knowledge(creative) work?
                  Why do you think farming is not creative or knowledge work?

                  80% of what I do as a farmer is based on my personal knowledge and creative adaptation to the scenarios that present themselves. Less than 20% is actual physical labor.

                  A good farmer may have some bouts of physical work but the knowledge behind the actions is critical. Not mention all the paperwork, legal issues, reading, planning, study and training that goes into the work before you ever put foot to shovel, turn the key on a tractor or turn a ram in with the ewes.

                  Take yesterday for example, 5 hours on a single next action. The physical part was unpacking a fleece, throwing it on a skirting table, skirting it, then re-packing and labeling it. The knowledge and creative part is evaluating the fleece, knowing the details of the pedigrees involved, planning the next mating, estimating the lambs to come based on what I saw of sire and dam, planning the specifications for the wool mill to spin yarns based on how the fleeces handle, deciding which fleeces will go together to make a batch of yarn that meets certain specs, planning and deciding on projects I will do in terms of weaving and knitting. That is a skill set that has taken decades to develop. Each year the wool is different so I have to adapt each and every year.

                  During lambing the physical part is the up from dawn to dusk and occasionally the pulling of a lamb but the knowledge is the ability to see when there is a problem, know how to manipulate the lamb and ewe to extract the lamb safely and the skills and tools to get it breathing and up etc. It's a lot more like an emergency room physician than it is physical labor.

                  As a farmer I have to be midwife, veterinarian, machine operator, bookkeeper, web site programmer, shipping clerk, marketer, long term planner, wool artisan, chef, delivery person, stockman, forage analyst, agronomist, slaughterman, meat cutter, welder and more just to make it through a single season! Farming takes more knowledge of more types of work than most people imagine.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Do you work part time or full time? How many hours would you spend working in total, and what would your % breakdown be for GTD workflow, collaborative (meetings) and individual project productive time?
                    I've started tracking my time just recently and am interested in trying to boost the individual time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
                      Do you work part time or full time? How many hours would you spend working in total, and what would your % breakdown be for GTD workflow, collaborative (meetings) and individual project productive time?
                      I've started tracking my time just recently and am interested in trying to boost the individual time.

                      I guess you're asking me..
                      I use toggl for time tracking, awesome tool, it takes only a couple of minutes a day to enter all data.

                      Anyway here is a week without forcing myself to do anything, ie the way things naturally happen.



                      m20tp is critical work project, other projects are less important personal and some work projects.

                      7 day overview:

                      Fun 33h 5m
                      critical work project(m20tp) 22h 34m
                      on the go 12h 45m
                      other projects 22h 3m
                      processing(GTD daily and including weekly review) 3h 0m
                      recreation(basically resting) 3h 15m
                      sleep 59h 45m
                      unplanned work 4h 24m

                      don't really do much meetings
                      Last edited by May; 04-19-2011, 07:02 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You've calculated 3hrs per day for the critical project based on a 7 day week, over a 5 day week that would be 4 hours per day. Interesting your GTD processing time is so low.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yeah the processing time was low because I wasn't adding many new projects and was just getting already processed things done for the most part. If I'm adding lots of projects then it's going to take longer.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I guess the amount of working hours you spend on a project are always depending on the importance, the difficulty and the dimension of the project. Productivity is a factor not dependant on time but on the person. You can be really productive and moving forward in a project in two hours but suddenly can face a real low after these particularly productive two hours. Or you just sit and stare into nothingness because you cannot seem to concentrate properly and still you think you have to sit there eight hours just to play pretend being productive and moving forward.

                            Fact is, that it is a a depending factor on your condition and shape and that sometimes it takes you three productive hours on a project to feel satisfied for one day and sometimes it takes you nine. You can't really measure them that way. At least in my opinion.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by donnbrow View Post
                              I guess the amount of working hours you spend on a project are always depending on the importance, the difficulty and the dimension of the project. Productivity is a factor not dependant on time but on the person. You can be really productive and moving forward in a project in two hours but suddenly can face a real low after these particularly productive two hours. Or you just sit and stare into nothingness because you cannot seem to concentrate properly and still you think you have to sit there eight hours just to play pretend being productive and moving forward.

                              Fact is, that it is a a depending factor on your condition and shape and that sometimes it takes you three productive hours on a project to feel satisfied for one day and sometimes it takes you nine. You can't really measure them that way. At least in my opinion.
                              Interesting reply, so what should you do when you are in a low productivity state? Work more or skip work/take a break? In my opinion if productivity is low then working more will not help much especially in the long term. Doesn't make sense to work for 9 hours instead of 3 because you will get sick of work and so on. What do you think?

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X