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The Origin of the 8-Hour Work Day and Why We Should Rethink It

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    “Manage your energy, not your time.”Schwartz explains that as humans we have 4 different types of energies to manage every day:    Your physical energy – how healthy are you? (We’ve written about that part before)    Your emotional energy – how happy are you?    Your mental energy – how well can you focus on something?    Your spiritual energy – why are you doing all of this? What is your purpose?

That's an interesting theory, that there are four types of energy to manage. 

I like his recommendations:

  • Manually increase the relevance of a task: Now, a lot of us still might struggle to find the focus, especially if no one set a deadline to it. Overriding your attention system, and adding your own deadline together with a reward has shown some of the most significant improvements for task completion according to researcher Keisuke Fukuda. 
  • Split your day into 90 min windows: Here is something I’ve started to do. Instead of looking at a 8, 6 or 10 hour work day, split it down and say you’ve got 4, 5 or however many 90 minute windows. That way you will be able to have 4 tasks that you can get done every day much more easily.
  • Plan your rest so you actually rest: “The fittest person is not the one who runs the fastest, but the one who has optimized their rest time.” Says Tony Schwartz. A lot of the time, we are so busy planning our work day, that we forget about “how” to rest. Plan beforehand what you will do your rest. Here are some ideas: Nap, read, meditate, get a snack.
  •  Zero notifications: One of the best ideas I’ve ever had was to follow Joel’s advice on Zero Notifications.  Having absolutely no counter on my phone or computer changing from 0 to 1 and always breaking my focus has been a huge help. If you haven’t tried this yet, try to turn off every digital element that could become an alert.

Personally, my life has been pretty much turned upside down after implementing these findings over the past few weeks. And I couldn’t be happier. I get both more done and feel happier at the same time.

Oh and as a follow-up post to this one, you might also enjoy “The science of how temperature and lighting impacts our productivity” as well as “The 4 elements of physical energy and how to master them

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