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Nobody is working for 8 hours a day, Why?

Vignesh M on October 15, 2020

Originally Published at vikky.dev Recently I came across an interesting question on twitter about average working hours per day. ...
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Francisco Quintero πŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄

People claims about getting solutions for problems when they're taking a shower or going for a walk.

This several times for every year I've been working as a software developer.

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Jason Steinhauser

Some of the best solutions I've come up with were in the shower, or going to lunch by myself and just letting my mind drift

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Evan Kapantais

This rings true so many times. Sometimes I get stuck on a problem for days only for the solution to come to me when I’m lying in bed just barely thinking about it.

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v4r15

it's the bg_worker doing its thing, and somehow doing "nothing" let's it shine... as if some scheduler is giving it the unused resources to work with :D

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Evan Kapantais

Offline mode is paying off πŸ˜‚

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ZettaV

this happens very often to me...
i have a window in my shower and when im taking a shower i can kind of look nowhere out the window and it creates a kind of time-bubble where thoughts flow freely without any resistance and good ideas for how to solve problems come to mind...
Another beneficial technique is to simply go outside and leave the office for like 15min or so... go out and stare into nowhere... somewhere far... like down the road or at some tall building or whatever... and a similar effect happens... as long as its not too loud or crowded outside...

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Nadia G.

This is incredibly true. Also some sleep could provide you the solution to a problem you were struggling with yesterday

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Kevin Williams

There are many variables here but at the end of the day each person needs to find their own balance. Working in 9-5 office environments worked for me in High School-College as it helped me hone/sharpen my skillset when working in the same room as my team. I was also more efficient because that time (minus breaks) was my employers.

I'm now a mid-to-senior level developer and I have been working remotely since 2014. I can honestly say I'm a bit less productive as far as time spent working...but that's a good thing. My focus and priorities are different and I'm in a place where I seek a more healthy work/life balance.

I wouldn't say "nobody" is working 8 hour days. Depending on my workload and deadlines I still enjoy 8-10+ hour workdays and also all-nighters every now and then as projects require.

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Vignesh M Author

Agreed. The title in a click-a-bait.

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Jordan Brennan

I like offices that have all sorts of options - pods for teams, private offices, small quiet work rooms (these are great!), open spaces. My most productive times ever though have been at home after 9pm (kids asleep, mind clear, creativity spiking)

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Toma

The philosophical goal of technology is to minimize and potentially eliminate human labor. The standard working schedule widespread over the globe is a thing from the past. In some sense it is in our inability to negotiate and/or to package our skills and knowledge into something detached from time. It is our subordination to the system, because of hunger or responsibilities, where we don't own the fruit of the work, but small chunk of the money made.

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Ken Nichol

Deep focus work can be limited to 3-4 hours per day, but there is plenty of other work to fill up the time in a work day. Documentation, communication, meetings, support, bug triage, etc... not everything we do requires intense concentration.

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Ken Nichol

Actually, there is also the other case. At times when you're so invested in a problem that you spend 6-8+ hours and forget to eat, sleep, etc..
It may even be hyper productive. Of course that always seems to come with a next day cost 😬

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Farah Anjum

Such an underrated comment.

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Vignesh M Author

Agreed. There are a lot of lighter tasks available for the rest of the time.

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Anja

I also think less hours can be very beneficial for both employee and employer. If you have well-rested, happy and concentrated employees their work will be great. I'm also thinking of a 36 hour workweek for myself, to have a bit more of the weekend. How many hours do you work?

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ZettaV

Actually its not really about the number of hours you work its about WHAT HOURS you work...
I think these common work practices like including TECHs into meetings just because there may be some kind of question you want to ask during a meeting of NON-TECHs is STUPID and WASTEFUL... Not only is it wasting the time of TECHs it is also TIRING and FRUSTRATING listening to all the BS of Marketing, Sales, and Managerial crap...
Simple rule of thumb... MAKE NOTES and WRITE DOWN any questions or things that need to be clarified during the meeting and send a list of questions to the TECHs after the meeting is over or during a meeting... just send a damn list and thats it...

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Vignesh M Author

I work around 40-50 hours per week.

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Anja

That's a lot, hope you feel good with it!

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ronca85

I'm a frontend developer. I could work for 8-10 hours but it took me almost two years to build up stamina. When I just started my brain was cooking after 4-5 hours. It took me two years to double that.
Most of the time I was hopelessly poorly managed and I could have done more with my time if I wasn't surrounded by morons. There's nothing more insulting and degrading than having someone insist you document what you have been doing hour by hour. It is a horrible way to gather data because everyone is lying and the few people that are honest get in a situation where everyone expects them to be on the same level all the time.
Improve productivity by studying how the world's top agencies do their thing. When you gather all the information, have all the answers and you know need change you will realize that nobody in your company wants to change. People are like that. A few bad ones ruin everything for everyone.

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Noah Malchy

I think you can focus on your challenging tasks for your "productive hours" and then work on easy tasks that you already know how to do and can kind of go on autopilot for those while listening to a podcast, that's me at least

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Anastasia

If you're an office rabbit - then yes, you've got no chance to work productively more than 2-3 hours a day. If you're a freelancer, with something like upwork timer ticking on your machine, then you actually do 7-8 hours of truly meaningful and productive hours.

And it's hard and burns you out.

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forwardperspective

Hi Anastasia! I'm hoping to get in touch with you about your Wheel of Life website! Any chance you could email me at ben@forwardperspectivenow.com? Thank you!

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Kate Hansen

Love this article!

I wonder too, how we are still working 8 hours a day when we have instantaneous response time. You used to have to call someone with a question, leave a message, wait for them to call you back. Or mail things to get signatures or approval. We have email, cell phones, etc, which has highly optimized our efficiency.

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OisΓ­n

The Zeigarnik effect is really interesting and I don't think society has learned to take good advantage of it. A recent neuroscience paper had people do some learning tasks for about 30-40 minutes. Afterwards, they were split into two groups. One group was made to fill in (useless) forms immediately after the training. The other group was made to just sit in a quiet room for 10-15 minutes without doing anything at all.
A few days later both groups were tested on what they'd learned and the quiet room group scored much better.
The takeaway was that some "doing nothing" time is extremely beneficial after a learning session, to help process what you've learned and store that information more effectively in long-term memory. When I think of some of our meeting schedules at work, I can see how we undermine this process, by completely filling our calendar so that when one meeting finishes, we immediately start the next one on a different topic. This way we really don't allow those memory consolidation and storage processes to work properly. So I'm starting to build a habit of either leaving meetings a few minutes before the next one starts, or starting the next one slightly late, or just saying no to meetings that aren't super beneficial.

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Doug

I often come up with a solution while explaining it to my wife (who knows little about coding) as we walk the dog.

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chandragie

I would say that I totally agree with you. As developers, who use thinking more than muscle strength would be more exhausted at the end of the day when pushed to a same amount of time. Muscle can be strengthen by repetition and exercise, but brain take more effort than that and IMHO some are "gifted to be able to expand and some are not".

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Stanley Lim

Implement no meetings days in a week or no meetings time range in a workday.

This is a great suggestion and definitely helps to give some focus time back to developers.

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abdulvahab

Very nice article. I can relate to most of the thing specified. I am lucky to working for a company where management understand psycology of productivity.

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JesperBylund

This is a great summation of the topic! I've thought about this a lot myself. Even did a few weeks long test to find out how much time I could be productive, also something like 4hours.

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Harshad Naik

Very relatable and true. πŸ‘

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