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    • In a society obsessed with productivity and constant hustle, how much work is too much, how much rest do we actually need, and how can we work more productively while working less?

      Ever since becoming a full time digital nomad, I'd become somewhat of a hunter-gatherer in that I don't really have "normal" hours or "normal" weekdays anymore. If I have a big, important project, I'll work seven days a week putting in ten hours daily or more, and if my assignments are more spaced out, sometimes I'll do zero work for days, take afternoons off, or completely unplug and disappear for whatever period of time feels necessary. I can sleep in, ignore Mondays, shut all electronic devices off, ride off into the mountains to recharge, take up a completely new project if I feel I need a fresh direction, read a lot, workout, enjoy life on the road, and discover something new about the world or myself daily. About 65% of the work I do I love so much that it doesn't even feel like work; my goal is to get it to at least 85%. At the same time, I still do work a lot.

      I would find it extremely difficult to go back to a 9-5 job now. It's not that I work less now, but I do work very differently and there is very little structure. I used to be anxious about it but in the long run, I am actually significantly more productive, active and creative working on inspiration and natural energy levels rather than hours and schedules.

      So, how much do you work, how much do you rest, and what are your top hacks to work less but better?

    • I think I work as hard as anyone, usually starting very early and ending very late. But I don't work 9 to 5 either. I need hikes in the woods, light reading before bed, breaks and adventurous travel.

      I'm around a lot of creative people and they work when inspiration strikes. No use staring at a monitor when the creative juice is just not there. There's nothing like a hike to rekindle it for me.

    • So true, it's pointless to try and force yourself when you need a recharge! I used to feel guilty if I wasn't busy 24/7; re-learning to appreciate natural rhythms, flows and ebbs of creativity, and the value of quality rest now.

    • Everygreen you seem to have found what works for you.

      I'm a teacher which means there are certain hours I have to be at work. There's also a lot of extra work that needs to be done after school but fortunately I can be flexible in when I do it. As a teacher I find the hardest part of the job is saying I've done enough. It'd be easy to work until midnight every day and full days on the weekends as the lessons could always be better. I understand however the need to prevent burnout and know that if I'm miserable and tired I won't be an effective teacher no matter how good my lesson plans are. I also have to be well rested or I won't have the patience to deal with 30 needy kids at a time. I tend to work lots for a day or two then take it easy for a day or two. That work/life balance can be very hard to achieve in a job where you could always do more. I can't imagine what it's like for people who have their own businesses. You have to really love what you are doing if that's the case.

      Some scandinavian countries have relatively short work weeks and are looking at making them even shorter. They've found that work productivity actually increases :)

    • Wow, your job is s important!! What do you teach?

      So spot on about doing too much, I get so obsessed with writing sometimes I forget time, space and reason and it can quickly escalate into tunnel vision, shortly followed by exhaustion.

    • Writing is definitely something that can make the time fly by. Deep thought is a great distractor.

      I teach grades 5 to 9. Usually an even mix of science and math but often with an extra class or two of physical education, outdoor education, robots or health. I do my best to not kill their nature desire to learn. I'd like to say I nurture life long learning but it's much easier to dream of doing it than actually figuring out how the heck to do it. So many different kids with so many diverse interests and backgrounds. Being flexible is key. I often feel like I'm a new teacher who has lots to learn and yet I'm in my 14th year now. I think being interested in learning stuff myself, helps me share that enthusiasm for learning with my students. Cake helps :)

    • I’ve gone from living out of a suitcase sixty percent of the year working 12 hour days for weeks on end to a less than 40 hour a week full-time job where I can come in to work an hour earlier or later if I want. You have no idea the freedom that brings. Most of my friends are envious, even if the paycheck isn’t as big.

      There are still times where I need to work a little more due to project deadlines, but nothing resembling my past jobs. As far as life hacks, I’ve been taking to heart @Chris ‘s work model of procrastination: it’s amazing how easily you can be sucked into the seemingly urgent items that can actually wait a day or more without action. Also, I think constantly looking for ways to optimize your work is critical: can I call someone for a three minute phone call instead of spending twenty minutes crafting an email to explain a complex issue?

    • Totally agree, optimizing work is a must! And calling feels like such a forgotten art but it CAN save tons of typing time, for sure :D

      What other optimization hacks are there?

    • What other optimization hacks are there?

      Okay, I’ve got one more. When I was a project manager for a high tech company, we’d have these three week out of town projects where we got to work at 7:30am and didn’t leave until 7:00pm. Brutal work pace on top of all the aggravations that come with being out of town for three weeks. The rule that got a final two hours of productive work from my team and myself was this:

      No mindless work until 5pm

      Filing paperwork, making photocopies, doing expense reports, leaving voice mails, basically anything that required minimal brain cells was off limits until after five. Around four o’clock, people would be dying from all the mental heavy lifting. But after five o’clock, people were more relaxed, they’d put their headphones on and we’d crank through two more hours of productive work.

      Today was the third day in a row working late to meet a deadline and I was ready to leave at five, but instead I switched to easier stuff and knocked out another hour and a half, getting a jump on tomorrow.

      I guess leaving some easy stuff for the end of the day is my life hack suggestion.

    You've been invited!