Just how productive can one be in a day?

I’ve read this interesting article about how some of the most brilliant minds of society spend their day, and I am amazed at how much sleep , Charles Darwin, Beethoven, and Victor Hugo get compared to an average college student.

As you approach your senior year, time allotted for sleep diminishes. In order to balance school, org (organization), and personal life, students often sacrifice sleep, pulling off all-nighters when necessary. But is this method effective?

In La Salle, Mondays through Thursdays are allotted for class discussions. Only selected course codes are on Fridays; these are either make up classes or three-hour subjects that are scheduled once a week. Friday is mainly attributed for org work, and school events.

People, especially those unfamiliar with DLSU’s curriculum might find our schedules too constrained. But in my case, I find it convenient for a couple of reasons:

  1. It gives students who live in the province enough time to commute and be with their families.
  2. Should we choose to be active in organizations, we still have Saturday to do homework and the rest of Sunday to rest.
  3. This makes it easier for us to pursue hobbies, interests, etc. outside the academe.
  4. Running on a tight schedule makes us work more efficiently. We learn to prioritize.

The question is, should companies follow a similar practice?

The employees with the highest productivity ratings, in fact, don’t even work eight-hour days. Turns out, the secret to retaining the highest level of productivity over the span of a workday is not working longer — but working smarter with frequent breaks.

The idea of working from 9-to-5 has been existing for as long as I can remember, but because of how much technology and globalizaton has developed over the years, this might no longer be the case.

Tower Paddle Boards CEO, Stephan Aarstol, has moved his company’s eight-hour-workday to five. According to him,

The idea that workers are expected to endure 70% of their week so they can enjoy the other 30% is collective insanity.

Employees learn how to manage their energy wisely and therefore achieve the same level of productivity, while pursuing things outside the office. However, Aarstol admits that not all industries, especially those that require 24-hour-presence can adapt to this practice.

In retrospect, there are various ways of achieving a well-balanced life. For instance, Denmark — the happiest country in the world, maintains the concept of Hygge (hoo-ga). The whole idea revolves around enjoying oneself or within the company of other people in a warm and friendly environment. It is closely associated to the term cosiness. This could simply mean indulging yourself with food, reading a good book, or watching your favorite TV series. Some people are even embracing this Danish way of life into their office work.

There are different ways to put hygge into practice in the workplace. Having sections of the building covered in foliage or using plants and green walls as decorative features inside the office can offer not only aesthetic value but also psychological benefits — helping morale and boosting productivity.

There is still a lot to consider with regards to creating a better environment for company employees, but if most of their time is spent working, then maybe companies ought to consider ensuring them with a better lifestyle. Even Mozart had a social life despite all the concerts, and composing he had to do.