My 10-4pm experiment

Office sucks, No if you handle it well.

In the past week I started an experiment to see how working hours really affects the productivity as well as the lifestyle in terms of health and wellness. And it started with my awareness about feeling tired before the end of the day even when I am in best of my mood.

I manage a sales team and some other projects here and there so utilising 24 hours is my priority because I need to make time for my own personal priorities like finally, hobbies and learning etc.

I am out of depression and the signs are quiet good because it takes me roughly 15 minutes to swing back the mood in right direction so this leaves me with ample time to do the things. Getting out of depression has its own demerits:)

So good mood, ample time and nature of job has got me into introspecting if 9-5 approach was right. That curiosity got amplified by the changing work cultures, specially in European countries where the working hours are reduced to 6, not for all but still some significance.

I noticed that gradually after lunch break the productivity decreases to zero and people mentally wrap up their day before the official closing hours. No matter how important the assignment is, the progress is marginal as compared to the initial half. I would call the later half as an unjustified imposed culture because along with productivity it hurts many a things which we don’t count but feel pressured to cope with.

Let me share first how my life changed with that experiment.

I had read about Pareto’s 80/20 principle and Parkinson’s Law of time compression/expansion, that had get me going to formulate a routine where I can test if my curiosity is directed towards something new or end up justifying the validity of present case.

I decided to start office at 10 and leave it by 4pm. And this approach looks like a sprint and in sprint you can’t lose time in asking for directions which means you must be aware of the every direction and move you have a make to finish it, “Planning” comes into action.

I’ve tried doing this many a times, planning the next day a day before but failed to keep it as a habit though the incentives were strikingly impressive. This time I promised myself to keep this habit because this experiment’s validity require it as the important resource. And I did it.

So. I am in the office by 10am, knew the tasks I had to do and I worked on each one by one directly.

Things never work the way you want because we are not an distinct being so obviously few items would get missed. And to balance it I used Pareto’s principle, giving priority to 20% of the most important tasks responsible for 80% of the progress. That saved me from the pressure of not meeting my expectations.

I had already activated Parkinson’s law by shrinking my work day to 6 hours and Pareto’s principle saved me from the critic within.

Parskinson’s Law states that we can compress or expand a work in any time frame.

As I started implementing I found that others must be in sync with me because I work in a team not as an individual so I should make a system where they are also aware that I care about the work they do before 4pm doesn’t matter when they arrive. I formalize with the team without opening the details of my experiments and they took it like if I am relieving them from workload. They found it good enough support and unknowingly started implementing Parkinson’s law.

I leave earlier than before and leaving office in day light gave me enough happiness that the day is still there to finish. I reach home, have my tea, relax, spend time with family, read a book, went to visit friends and come back to a 2 hours sprint of learning or doing something which I had planned. By 10pm my eyes begged me to die for the day and I go to bed while the TV is still ON in every house of my building.

My father thought there must be something wrong with me going to bed so early. 🙂

Going to bed early obviously has its advantages but that is other thing that I haven’t yet able to make it to 5am club.

I have iterated everyday to make the next day much better and lively, my day has become a book for me and I kept reading it to write another chapter for next day and then reread it to write for another day. And that goes on.

So how 9-5 makes us sick.

Depends on what my expectation with life because I don’t care about yours.

Just a shift of one hour from each side and a mindset has changed my mental health and I felt abundance in action. I was able to handle multiple projects, was able to make time out for things which matter to me and sometimes for others.

That approach has equipped me with ample time to look at things with ease and plan accordingly without any rush. When you have this mental state the time slows down and nothing looks urgent so patience level improves. Becz of this I have found improvement in patience and temperament as I don’t cuss at the fellow drivers on road. I feel my health and life in control which gives anybody enough confidence of taking next step because things appear in control, uncertainty has gone away. The perspective has changed in a better way.

And I think others who might be working like this have experienced the similar or better effects in their life, ultimately increasing the quality of life.

It’s not that the experience was very smooth, like deadlines and priority overlapping always occurred but with time I get in terms with myself, treating myself as a kid who just fell short. I neither embrace those shortcomings but also don’t push or punish myself for that. This understanding or acceptance has calmed the inner critic of mine and blossomed a harmony within me.

This life is what, I think, we all 9-5 goers are missing.

How 9-5 culture sticked with civilizations?

I not sure about this theory, but civilizations has started with manual work and labour without much involvement or mind, but still it involved at upper level. This culture relied upon direct proportionality between production and man hours. With time civilizations sticked with 9-5 culture which only flourished and established it as a monotonous rule.

With the introduction of knowledge jobs, nothing changed at first but with time the perception changed gradually and with the rise of freelance culture and awareness about freedom has further challenged the 9-5 concept. In the recent time a lot of emphasize has been given to psychology and the word “emotional intelligence” came into existence. Employers started taking the HR department seriously, not all, and made investment to make employees happy in order to increase productivity as reliance on man hours has been questioned via emotional intelligence and economics of “why we do what we do?”

Work from home, remote and so many other work culture has risen in recent years in order to change the work culture and suit to modern human need of work+life+many things.

Still majority stick with 9-5 MNCs, Public sector, manual labours, banks, school etc etc….

And I stick with 10-4 🙂



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