In a recent Entrepreneur article, Jane Porter discusses the psychology of the average workday, giving tips on how to get more out of each day. In today’s blog, we will look some of the suggestions given in the article, as well as take a broader look to see how a normal workday might differ in several countries. One of the main takeaways from the article is that workers should look at the workday as several blocks of time, instead of one single eight-hour period to accomplish their tasks. Splitting the day into sections takes advantage of what psychology tells us about our brains and behaviors, and may help workers accomplish more of the goals they set out for themselves.
The first tip is based on the research showing that for most people, the most productive period of the day will be the first three hours spent on the job. You are most focused during these early hours of the day, and by recognizing this, you should strive to devote your most pressing and important tasks to this time period. By setting goals and looking to accomplish them during these first few hours, we set ourselves up to have a very productive day, which in turn can increase our overall happiness and health.
We should also be cognizant of the fact that our bodies and minds need a break every so often, and a short time spent away from your tasks every couple of hours can actually improve your overall productivity for the day. Research specifically points to the mid-afternoon as a time when many workers will feel unmotivated and physically drained. This has to do with our body’s circadian rhythm, and the author advises that workers should look to schedule less demanding tasks during this time. Interestingly, research shows humans can actually be most creative when they are tired, so workers could look at this time of the day to focus on tasks that require more creativity.
Lastly, the article touches on the fact that humans need downtime, and suggests that workers make sure when they leave the office, their tasks don’t follow them home. When looking at the average workdays around the world, it is noticeable that some countries' workers have less downtime than others. Comparing OECD countries, Mexico tops the world with the longest working days, averaging 43 hours a week, followed by South Korea and Greece. Regionally, Europeans tend to work less than their counterparts around the world, but in regards to the article, maybe less time spent at work, but more focus on productivity while there, is actually a better strategy. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.