If we take a closer look and dissect productivity levels throughout the eight-hour workday, we find that while workers appear busy, they are not actually performing work, which is significant for eight consecutive hours.
In a recent survey by Blind, nearly 45% of tech workers said they spend four hours or less on “focused work,” meaning uninterrupted time spent in a state of flow, focusing on high-priority tasks. 25 percent of respondents said they work eight or more hours a day. Some professionals said nervous stress reduced their performance, while others said low-value tasks, such as paperwork, meetings, and other menial activities, hurt their productivity.
In March, Founders Fund general partner Keith Rabois, known for investing in PayPal, LinkedIn and Square in early investment rounds, denounced the culture of “fake work” at tech companies. Mr. Rabois asked, “What are these people really doing?”, before answering his question: “They go to meetings.”
This begs the question: Where is the worker’s real value – in the hours he spends sitting at his desk or in his actual results and outcomes? Is their goal to show how hard they work all day, or is it to complete high value added activities?
Low-value tasks and distractions
Let’s be real. Long days in the office do not enhance efficiency and effectiveness. We’ve all been there. You are in the heat of the moment and do what you need to do. Then, you’re hit with a flood of outages. It is difficult to return to the starting point. This daily inconvenience is a colossal waste of time and energy.
Unnecessary meetings often interfere with getting things done. Employees have to prepare for one meeting while being stuck in another without enough focus time. This leads to unproductive behaviors that drag everyone down.
How to improve your work day
All humans have their own biorhythms. Instead of working arbitrarily from 9am to 5pm, companies would be wiser to adapt their employees’ schedules to each person’s peak productivity. Some people like to get up early and get to work right away. Others hit their stride after a few cups of coffee or are night owls, who perform best when they are quiet.
The stressful demands of the job, including making hundreds of daily decisions, leads to stress for workers. If you get to this point, you may start making bad decisions out of sheer burnout, because your brain is working at a lower level.
According to behavioral neurologist Purna Punkdarpur, for two hours of focus, you should take a 20-30 minute break. Cognitive overload is a reality, and your brain needs breaks. “When you increase your brain’s metabolism, you produce by-products that need to be eliminated and cleaned,” says Bonakdarpur.
To get the most out of your break, you need to psychologically detach yourself from your work. It’s not about moving from a stressful task to a less important activity, like checking emails. During the recovery period, you should completely withdraw from work. The best thing to do is get away from your desk and go for a walk, as physical activity enhances blood circulation and cognitive functions. This break will help your brain recover from increased fatigue and open up to innovative solutions.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Jack Kelly
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