Work hard vs. work smart LO18681)
Sun, 19 Jul 1998 17:51:18 -0700

Replying to LO18615 -- was: Caring

Bill Harris writes:
> BTW, I have found that I need some amount of involvement (i.e., time) with
> the problems at work to immerse myself in them. I also need some amount
> of re-creation time away from work to be refreshed and able to contribute
> (ignoring, for a minute, the value of that re-creation on its own). That
> is, I can be more productive at work (or so I seem to observe) with a
> hard-worked reasonable work week that also has time for other things than
> by working many more hours and having no time for other things. When I
> work a reasonable week, I take time at nights to make notes for my work,
> when inspiration strikes. When I worked 80 and more hours in a week, I
> wouldn't take _any_ time at home to make notes of any inspiration which
> struck, even if making those notes woould save me time the next day; I
> _needed_ those few hours to myself or for my family and me.

There's another negative aspect of 80-hour weeks as a regular diet (which
you allude to in the above paragraph): you get stupid, and make more
mistakes. I've seen this happen in software "death marches", but I
believe it can happen anywhere. If you think about the basic quality
message of Deming, Crosby, et al., you can infer that there has to be a
point where any additional productivity you gain by working more hours is
offset by the lossage due to introduced defects and other aspects of
"working dumber". As a personal matter, this is a lesson I've learned the
hard way over the years.


Don Dwiggins SEI Information Technology "The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level as they were created." - Albert Einstein, 1946

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