Why Working More Hours is Less Productive
June 29, 2020

Why Working More Hours is Less Productive

Do you dream of RVing Full Time? Many people answer that question with a resounding “Yes!” But not all of us hold that same dream. My wife and I aren’t so sure that we really want to be “Full Time, full time.” We’re thinking that while we’d love to have the flexibility to spend six, nine, or even more months in our RV each year, we probably also want to have a “sticks and bricks” place to come back to every once in a while. 

And whether you want to be a true full timer, or an “extended timer” like my wife and me, you may not be in a season of life that supports that dream right now. Maybe you need to wait a couple of years in order to receive a pension. Or maybe you have kids in school, and you don’t want to disrupt them or don’t want to home school (or road school) them. 

Whatever the reason, if it’s not your time to RV “full time” that’s OK. But does that mean you can’t enjoy your RV now?  Do you have to wait about RVing at all just because you’re not ready to go full time? No!

What holds you back from RVing as much as you’d like? 

If you’re like a lot of people I talk with, you’re not sure how you could afford to spend extended periods of time in your RV. After all, you need to keep producing income. If that’s the case, check out my free guide, 7 Ways to Fund Your RV Lifestyle.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Taking time off from work

But once again, even if you’re not in a season of life that supports being on the road for months at a time, you can still go out on weekends and for a week or so during the summer. Except that many people I talk to don’t even do that. Why? Because they feel that they can’t take time off from work.

Sadly, many jobs feel like “pressure cookers,” demanding our full attention all of the time - even when you’re not actually at work. Many companies foster an environment where it’s implied that people who actually take time off from work are “slackers.” But the reality is, we are far more productive when we take time off. 

While it may feel like taking time off will hurt your career, it actually helps. Shawn writes in the Harvard Business Review that people who take all of their vacation time have a higher chance of getting a promotion or raise than people who leave 11 or more days of vacation on the table. 

Sound counterintuitive? Read on!

By the way, these same ideas apply for business owners and working for your own business. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of completing as many tasks possible  by stealing time from other activities like sleep and time off of work. (Raising my own hand here…) But again, the reality is that taking time off can make us more productive!

Overtime isn’t effective

Earlier in my career, when I was working for a large telecommunications company,  my group was working on a major product that was behind schedule. The company mandated overtime, expecting  employees to work no less than 50 hours per week. My director at the time told me that he thought productivity decreased  when we all increased our hours. And it turns out he was more than likely correct.

According to an article by CNBC, studies show that overtime does not always increase productivity. In fact, they found that productivity falls off after 50 hours, and drops sharply after 55 hours—so much so that employees who work 70+ hours per week are no more productive than those who worked 55. In addition, long hours are linked to employee absenteeism and employee turnover. The message is clear: extended periods of prolonged overtime are not effective.

Overtime can have detrimental health effects

An Inc article shows that too much overtime not only fails to increase productivity, but it also can have detrimental health effects. According to studies referenced in this article:

  • Working more than 10 hours a day is associated with a 60% increase in the risk of cardiovascular issues.

  • 10% of those working 50 - 60 hours a week reported relationship problems; the rate increased to 30% for those working more than 60 hours!

  • Working 40+ hours a week is associated with increased alcohol and tobacco consumption, unhealthy weight gain in men, and depression in women.

  • Productive work decreased dramatically after 50 hours per week.

  • 23% of companies with normal overtime had absentee rates over 9 percent, while 54% of companies with high overtime rates had absentee rates over 9 percent.

  • People who work 11 hours or more of overtime have an increased risk of depression.

  • Injury rates also increase as work hours increase: people who work 60 hours per week have a 23% higher injury hazard rate.

In addition, working long hours can lead to injuries, as fatigue-related problems rise with the amount of overtime. In the studies cited by Inc, while no fatigue-related problems were found In companies with a relatively low 8.7% overtime rate, and only minor fatigue-related problems were reported when the overtime rate was 12.4%, when the overtime rate hit 15.4%, fatigue-related problems became severe.

Many of the problems identified above are related to stress, and are often tied to hormonal imbalances. For example, stress raises cortisol, which can disrupt sleep and affect appetite, blood pressure, immune system function, memory/cognition, mood, and more.

Instead of focusing on how to make money for your business, focus on how you can serve your clients. 

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How many hours should we work?

If you know me, you know I’m likely to answer, “It depends.” Another possible answer is, “As many as you need to to get your work done, and no more.” But that doesn’t take into account the human propensity to over-schedule and over-commit.

Surprisingly, according to Ignite, our traditional 40-hour work week is pretty much spot on. Some research, such as that referenced by Andrew Merle shows that about 38 hours per week provides the optimum balance between productivity, mental health, and healthy relationships.

RV-based workers can probably get away with working a few more hours, as long as the work is enjoyable. One advantage of working from your RV is that when the end of the workday comes, you only need to step out your door and immediately be  in a healthy environment. Plus, there’s no commute. 

Even if you’re not living in your RV, you can still get more RV trips in by recognizing that taking time off can make you more productive. So instead of losing your vacation time and working through your weekends, you can increase your productivity by scheduling time to enjoy your RV.

Do you dream of living an RV Lifestyle, but you’re not sure how you can afford it? If so, then check out my guide, 7 Ways to Fund Your RV Lifestyle.

Start Living Your Dream

You don't have to wait until you retire to start RVing!

By implementing one or more of these 7 strategies, you can replace your current income so you can RV as much as you want (even full-time)!

7 Ways to Fund Your RV Lifestyle

NOTE: I am a Certified Book Yourself Solid® Coach, which means I am licensed to teach the system, created by Michael Port, based on his mega best-selling book, Book Yourself Solid®. Read more about the Terms and Conditions here

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