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Work less, produce more!


 Paul Boag’s thought-provoking blog, http://boagworld.com/random/work-less addresses working fewer hours and producing more and elicited 54 comments from its readers. This blog, posted on August 25, 2010, appears to have been inspired by the overwhelming number of tweets (300) he received that morning for a tweet he made about the topic– working less hours. This was his controversial tweet:

“..Amazed at how many people on twitter this morning are boasting about the long hours they are working. Don’t they know that is a bad thing?”

Boag’s blog declares that the culture of long hours for web professionals has to change. He writes about the importance of rest and recreation in producing better work and exemplifies himself by saying he can produce a lot of work without working long hours:  “.. in my experience work expands to fill the amount of time you give it. The more hours you allow yourself to work the more work there will be to fill them….it’s not about how many hours you work, it’s how smart you work.”

 He further states:  “ I write blogs, do online seminars, record podcasts, speak at conferences, do consultation, heads the R&D of their web design agency Headscape, and also heavily involved in the sales process…and so on….while keeping very strictly to an 8-hour work day.”

He believes people  “….can achieve more by being organized, rested, and motivated, and people work long hours not because they have to but because they want to… participating in life beyond the web provides a valuable perspective that can be missed when you are constantly on the job….To be a broad, rounded human being we need to engage in non- web related activities. Do you have any hobbies outside of the web? Do you socialise with non-web people? These are all important not just for our mental health but also to provide perspective in our work…. I am just saying that we should not be proud of our long hours. We should recognise them for what they are… an evil necessity. At the end of the day nobody reaches their death bed wishing they had worked longer hours.”

Some of the Comments in response: (a majority of responders agreed with Paul and only a few had imparted that their work lifestyle was different and the work-less practice was difficult to implement in their situation.)

“I absolutely 100% agree with this. Work smart. Stay healthy. Get the work/life balance right! It’s what I encourage my team to do and in fact, if we can finish in less than 40 hours each week, I’ll fill the rest of the time in by thanking them with a cold one (or 6) in the nearest watering hole….”


“Nice justification Paul. I think there is definitely a ‘maturity’ that helps as you get ‘longer in the tooth’ and begin to work smarter with the experience behind you.”


“Generally good advice and I think that I maintain a healthy work/pub balance. The web is never won, there’s always more you can do to improve a site, or another mailing list to monitor, so it’s about where to draw the line.”


“Good post Paul and I think that works well when people work ‘The Day Job’ but there are such varied lifestyles around, 1 size doesn’t fit all.”


“…I find it can be exciting working through the night on important projects – as an infrequent occurrence. The problem you have is sustainability; no one can work at a consistently high level for a prolonged period whilst working around the clock.”


“I mostly agree, on the point of employment-related work. There are, however, times when you must work a little overtime (OT), here and there, to help keep the lights on.”

As we head into 2011, it might serve us well to evaluate where it is we want to be in the facets of our lives and what it will take to get there…and do it, but not overdo it.



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