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More than just a counter-intuitive thesis to raise discussions?



I don't know that it's counter-intuitive at all. I've burnt out before on urgent projects which ended up delayed and of marginal importance. I've seen people culture urgency and watched them value doing something over doing something right. The apparent urgency of a task trumps the mental and physical well-being of the people appointed to it. It's downright unhealthy.

What it really is though is unpolitic. Especially in the USA, suggesting that something can wait, or that the morale boost from working less will end up in more productivity angers a lot of people.

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"Especially in the USA, suggesting that something can wait, or that the morale boost from working less will end up in more productivity angers a lot of people."

"They're out of their minds! They suggest that it can wait and the morale boost from working less will end up in more productivity... Blasphemy! They're just lazy! I've worked 90 hours a week for 7 years, and because of that I'm ill and borderline insane, but IT'S WORTH IT, I'M PRODUCTIVE!!! Sure, I'm chronically stressed and made 3 burn-outs, but I get stuff DONE. Those no-goods can't understand what it's like. They don't understand what sacrifice means! Grumble."

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I saw an interesting statistic that while Americans work the hardest in the world they are not the most productive in their time use. Instead, Europeans are the most productive.

That being said, this doesn't mean Americans aren't the most productive overall, since Americans do work insanely long hours compared to Europeans.

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Why do you say it's counter-intutive? Isn't the thesis largely the same as "Haste makes waste"? That idea has been bouncing around since at least 190 B.C.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/22/messages/411.htm...

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You are right, i was unclear here. I didn't mean "urgency is poisonous" is counter-intuitive, but rather the advice in the blog-posting "we work less (4 days a week) to be more productive". The issue with urgency is that you often have no control over it. Can a startup beat a competitor by saying "let's work less"? I doubt. Urgency can also have the positive effect of concentrating all forces towards a certain goal.

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The advice in the post doesn't say they "work less". They say they've worked fewer hours.

I wish I could find the study I read last year that found only about 20% of hours spent at work by a typical worker are productive, but I'll have to settle for this: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/fashion/31work.html

Working fewer hours does not mean you do less work. Indeed, the improvement in efficiency can mean you ultimately produce more. It's like if you drive a car at 100mph everywhere, you'll use more gas per mile than driving at 55mph (indeed, this was why that limit was set).

(Update: Heh, just noticed someone else used an automotive metaphor above!)

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Steven Covey made piles of cash in the 90s preaching urgency vs importance.

Urgency = putting out fires Importance = creating value

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