Why "busyness" is not productivity

Are you being productive of just filling up your day with busy work?

A Business Roundtable study found that after just eight 60-hour weeks the fall-off in productivity is so marked that the average team would have actually gotten just as much done and been better off if they’d just stuck to a 40-hour week all along. And at 70-or 80- hour weeks, the fall-off happens ever aster; at 80 hours, the break-even point is reached in just three weeks. Studies on this subject conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics , U.S. Department of Labor, Proctor and Gamble Company, , the National Electrical Contractors Association, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of American produced similar results. All of them showed that continuing scheduled overtime has a strong negative effect on productivity, which increases in magnitude proportionate to the amount and duration of overtime.

Productivity in healthcare

(Photo credit: Yann Ropars)


  1. says

    Hi James, that’s a very interesting study.
    The first time I heard about this was in a book about personal improvement.
    I was very interested by the fact that the less the time that you have, the less the time that you need to make tasks.
    I think this study support my way of thinking “It’s better to work smart that to work hard” 🙂

    • says

      Great advice Indeed Mauro! I know I have days where I feel like I put in 18 hours and really do not have a clue what I actually go done. But the days when I only have 1 hour to put in I found it was extremely focused and produced amazing results.
      Really is an interesting study. What do you do for organization and productivity? Long to do lists? Post it notes? Extensive Calendars?

      • says

        To be honest…I keep (almost) all in my mind 🙂
        (The only exception are the brainstorms that I make sometimes)
        I tried many approaches to organize my work, but all them were ineffective for me.
        Also I wasted a lot of time to make them.
        I figured out that the “all in mind” approach is what works best for me. But I know that many other people who like to do calendars or to do lists.
        What does work for you, James?

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