#87 - A Lazy Man Indeed
Dangerous, useless, and underway
Afternoons are deadly. Accidents go through the roof.
Look after yourself this PM.
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A wonderful, but alarming, study found that afternoons are dangerous.
Duke Medical Centre reviewed 90,000 surgeries. They looked for “anaesthetic adverse events”- or anaesthetic mistakes during surgery.
They found a huge change at different times of day.
Adverse events were “more frequent for cases starting during the 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. hours.”
The probability of a problem at 9 a.m. was ~1 percent. At 4 p.m? 4.2 percent.
The chance of an accident was four times greater in the afternoon.
It’s down to our daily rhythm.
We have a natural cycle of mood and performance throughout the day.
It’s different for us all. But, generally, we peak through the morning, crash in the afternoon, and recover in the evening.
And yet we carry on like all hours are equal.
I’m useless for much of the afternoon. I don’t know about you but I do little of value.
But still… I feel that I should be working. It’s during the working day.. of course I should be working.
How ridiculous! We’re still so caught in the 9 to 5. But it’s out of date.
The 8 hour work day is for factory work.
That’s where it came from. Henry Ford popularised it in 1926. Down from 10 hours no less.
The world is different now. There’s a new type of work: Knowledge work.
This work is no longer about putting in the hours. It’s about creativity and making good decisions.
And yet we’re stuck in the idea that more hours are better.
It’s too easy to spend hours at a time doing nothing of consequence. God knows I’ve been there.
Most of us would do far better with an hour of good work in the morning. Then take the rest of the day off.
We do far far more harm than good in our unproductive hours. The problem with the unimportant work is that it creates more unimportant work. Soon we’re drowning in it.
My work is increasingly about making fewer high quality decisions. I’m not doing anyone any favours batting about emails all day.
If I replied to all my emails I’d be employed in nothing else. And yet some days I do just that.
I’m yet to settle on how best to fulfil my duties. Experiments are underway.
I suspect the answer will be more unplugged than I am now. (which is reasonably unplugged)
The days are long.
I make far better use of my time than I once did and yet I’m still squandering much of my time. It’s crazy.
The more effective I become, the more I realise how ineffective I am.
I notice the same thing with phone addiction:
The better I get at spending less time on my phone, the more time it feels like I spend on my phone.
I have myself down as far more of a phone addict vs 3 years ago and yet my screen time has plummeted in that period.
I’m highly sceptical of how I spend my working day. Maybe I’m the problem? Maybe everyone else is smashing it out of the park all afternoon. It's just me batting around emails.
But maybe not.
Maybe we’re doing ourself, and our work, a great misjustice.
I suspect the latter.
Founder’s are constantly told they must work all hours to be a success. But I’m sure many would do better by working less. Because, let’s be honest, so much of what we do doesn’t actually move the needle.
Besides, Andrew Carnegie, the former world’s richest, said:
"You must be a lazy man indeed if it takes you ten hours to do a day's work."
Worth pondering. I certainly am.
My Week in Books📚
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Reread this. It does what it says on the tin but so on the money. Highly recommended. It’s always a useful reminder.
Chapter 3 is called: The unimportance of nearly everything. That’s it. Internalise that and you’re sorted.
A Final Thought 💡
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is – what are we busy about?”
- Henry David Thoreau