Self Care September 1, 2020

How much work do you do each day?


I think we've all figured out by now that spending 8 hours per day 'at work' doesn't necessarily mean 8 hours of productive output.

After time tracking with Harvest for a while, I've figured out that I max out at 90 minutes or so of really good concentrated creative output - in my case, writing. It seems crazy low, but I just feel mentally tired and prone to distraction if I stretch it much longer than that. The rest of the day often falls into lower-effort marketing and admin tasks.

Am I just kinda lazy, or is this common? I'd like to step up my game but I'm not sure how.

  1. 4

    I was gonna comment on a post that someone asked "an hour a day is enough for a side project".

    I started to write a comment but couldn't send. I guess I had to take it out. I'm waking up with code blocks in my mind and going to sleep watching tutorials. Basically I'm sitting on a computer whole day and working(!). But in reality, it's the first 1 hour is the productive part, if I caught some doubt there is 6-8 hour long procrastination. If I find a way to motivate myself again, I work another good 2-3 hours and that's all. That's just unfortunate. I miss the days I coded like crazy for 6-8 hours straight.

    And yes we are lazy. This is not how it suppose to be :)

    1. 2

      Can relate to this.

      I've installed on my mac and set it to a pathetic 5 min interval with 2 min breaks for 10 cycles.
      if I can do 1 set of this a day, I consider that day successful.
      Will ramp it up to 2 set next week and so on. Currently in week one.

      1. 2

        I've tried pomodoro as well, it wasn't meant for me. But once I tried something to track my time. It was sitting on the menubar. Write the task and start the timer. That prevented me from getting distracted a few times. It was like, "Draw a logo with 2 variants" start the timer. Whenever I urged to open a youtube video or check up on an article or sth. I see the timer and told myself "Oh this task shouldn't take that long", and keep working on it, finishing it then do whatever I want. It worked well, but I lost that app.

        And it was the time I read "Eat that frog" which recommends doing to hardest "todo" at first. Another self-improvement strategy ruined the existing one. :)

        You may give it a try.

  2. 3

    What works best for me:

    Early morning: 90-120min of concentrated work (hardest tasks)

    Rest of the day: Light work/admin tasks/etc.

    Late Evening: 90-120min of concentrated work (easier tasks than in the morning)

    So I definitely don't hit the 8hr mark, unless I am really into what I'm doing and on a roll.. but I find about 4hrs a day is enough. Just my take!

    1. 1

      Interesting. Is this your natural rhythm, or do you have to be disciplined and structure your days like this intentionally?

  3. 2

    While it feels like I'm at work from 10am to 6pm...

    I clock an average of 3.5 focused hrs per day.

    I clock in whenever I'd start a specifically defined task and clock out when I'd pause or attend to something else.

  4. 2

    Depends. Now a days, I am able to grind out 10+ hours consistently in which:

    • 4 hours are most productive work (Designing, writing etc.) ,
    • Rest are managing people, Delegating tasks and sales reach outs.

    Also, Mental frame plays a big part. Since going Indie - Knowing I am alone and have no saviour, I am willing to go extra step just so that work gets done. This has helped me a lot. Setting the mentral frame right.

    Also, Sunday are strictly off work. I avoid seeing even work realted messages on my week off.

  5. 2

    I wrote a detailed article on how many hours people can expect to get work done:

    The more mentally challenging a task is the less hours you can do it per day.

    8 hours per day of actual work is not realistic or the norm. This comes from a time when most people worked in factories.

  6. 2

    For me, Books by "Cal Newport" ["Deep work", "Digital minimalism" and "So good they can't ignore you"] and his podcast provided wonderful tips on improving the focused working hours. Particularly, removing social media apps from phone helped me, I also blocked them on my laptop with a browser plugin which adds a little friction before unblocking. This eventually made me completely come out of the habit of constantly checking social media and do it only once in a week or two weeks. With all this, I am only hitting 2-3 hours of productive non-urgent-but-important tasks and max is 4 hrs. Still improving...I think 4-6 hrs is kind of an upper limit for many (as we also have to take care of other shallow busy work)...

  7. 2

    around 10 per 6.5 days per week, but not all these hours have the same intensity, some are more relaxed and dedicated to research, other are more productive.

  8. 2

    I've tried time tracking with some "timer" app before, and I felt quite stressful when using them watching the time increasing. Does anyone has the same feeling?

    Personally, I preferred to track my time backwardly.
    It can achieve same effects of getting insight, but prevent me from feeling stressful.

    Statistics of my tracking of 2020 showed average 389 minutes of productivity daily.
    Including exercising 13 min/d, working on side project 103 min/d, studying 80 min/d, working 138 min/d, and other stuffs 51 min/d.

    If you're working 8hrs daily, I would say you're already being very productive!

    Don't put too much stress on yourself.
    Relax more and you'll be more energetic on working!

  9. 2

    No it’s normal for me. Most important thing is, try focusing more on high value task. As parent, I try to maximize my working time, I spend 2 hours in the morning to manage my offline business, and 2-3 hours in the evening for my side project.

  10. 2

    i'd say it ebbs for me but on most days I can probably accomplish 5 really focused 25 min work sprints and then sprinkle in a couple of hours of lighter work.

  11. 2

    8 hours on full-time job(real 5-6 hours) and 2-4 hours before sleeping. ~4 hours on Saturday

  12. 2

    I try to focus 4 hours per morning in my project PeerPull and then the rest to my second project still in stealth :) + 1 hour workout in between

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