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Setting aside whether 60-80 hours per week is sustainable (and I think it's not for most pople, except perhaps for 20-somethings and people with hypomania), the research this article references says that there isn't a 1-to-1 correlation between hours and output. That's the whole point.

"... increasing a team’s hours in the office by 50 percent (from 40 to 60 hours) does not result in 50 percent more output (as Henry Ford could have told them). Most modern-day managers assume there will be a direct one-to-one correlation between extra hours and extra output, but they’re almost always wrong about this. In fact, the numbers may typically be something closer to 25-30 percent more work in 50 percent more time."

From about 1/3 down in the "The Overtime Exception" section.

Yes, but the study seemed fairly focused on single task performance. I don't think I can do a single task for even 40h/wk (maybe 20-30, tops), but running a startup or being dev/devops at a fast growing startup involves a lot of varied tasks. Performance on these doesn't really draw from the same pool.

But again the results this article cites point in the opposite direction:

"... research shows that knowledge workers actually have fewer good hours in a day than manual laborers do — on average, about six hours, as opposed to eight."

"Knowledge worker" in a study cited from Alternet is probably "programmer at a large soul-sucking corporation." Startup founder is fundamentally different.

Why? What is different?


Motivation to build what you really want to build is completely different from being motivated to work for a salary to avoid starvation and keep your family going.

Motivation, and particularly knowing exactly how the work you will do will benefit (yourself, your friends, your company, the industry, society).

I imagine it's a lot easier being a doctor who is actually helping individual people squeeze in one more patient, vs. spend overtime filling in paperwork. Same difference between working on an awesome product where you have total visibility into the whole process, vs. beng a cog in a much larger wheel.

Not only does overtime not give you a linear increase in performance, but in my personal experience overtime it decreases overall performance.

I work at a small programming company where gratuitous overtime is the norm as a project closes. By the time things calm down again, we're so stressed out that our productivity probably falls by 50% or more for weeks to come. And the cumulative effect after years of this is even worse. I don't think the boss (also an overworked programmer) has yet to come to appreciate this daunting reality.

Please tell me you're arguing to convince them of the error of their ways or looking for a new job if you've already failed to convince them?

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