If you are a knowledge worker, overworking does not only harm your health and quality of life. It also hurts your overall output and bottom line, according to Alex Pang’s research from Stanford.
When Ford reduced the hours of his factory workers to eight, he realized unexpectedly that output improved. Reading Pang’s research, I suspect that the same would happen if we cut the hours of the knowledge workers today. Trying to do brain work for more than 4 hours a day, Pang argues, is counterproductive.
This sounds counterintuitive in a culture that rewards hard work and wears busyness as a badge of honor. After all, you need to work your 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.
What is interesting is that even the study that popularized the 10,000-hour rule agrees with Pang’s findings. The most successful performers in the study practiced for about four hours a day. Working for a limited time every day allowed them to have the focus to be deliberate in their prac...
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