Do you have only 100 minutes, or less, to get your work done in a day? Today’s always-on, all-access economy has led to unnatural patterns that are counter-productive and are damaging to knowledge workers. From checking and sending work communications at all hours, to thinking that email is not ‘real work,’ to the fear of missing out (FOMO), to unrealistic expectations about their own performance, employees are in a state of constant bombardment from stimuli. Their brains do not have a chance to rest… ways to increase productivity and work-life balance feel like myths.
In a typical workday, my experience shows that the average professional gets about 100 messages and each message takes an average of two minutes to process. That’s two hundred minutes—or three hours and twenty minutes—of email to handle every day. The day after a full day of meetings (which can comprise up to four hours in any given day, with no time to handle messages), it’s logical to assume that more than six hours of work will be waiting in that professional’s inbox the next day. While it’s realistic to plan for handling email, most people do not because they don’t see it as ‘real work’. Three-plus hours of email and 4 hours of meetings leaves only about 100 minutes per day (or less) to get everything else done!
Even more, after-hours emails speed up corporate cultures which, in turn, chips away at creativity, innovation and the ability to increase productivity. Sometimes employees fall into this after-hours work behavior because they see their leaders working longer hours (perhaps because it’s expected, perhaps it’s because they have more flexible schedules). If leadership is working in such a manner, it sets the tone for employees who feel they should do the same.
Being always “on” hurts results and does not increase productivity. When work is always with us and our brains never have time to recharge, we deplete our creativity, motivation, and ability to make connections and insights. This leaves us no time for reflection and the thoughtful application of knowledge and experience, which are necessary for high-quality knowledge work.
Discover two ‘flavors’ of a proven solution—controlled and restorative attention—that are among the many solutions I offer to increase productivity in my latest book, Work Without Walls.
Use the box to the right to download the first chapter of Work Without Walls for free, and learn surprising ways to increase productivity for yourself and within your organization.