Skip to content
Home » Articles » Working longer hours isn’t the solution

Working longer hours isn’t the solution

  • by
  • 2 min read

Share this article

When we take on more responsibility, many of us respond by working more hours.

This isn’t much fun. But it’s also dumb.

Because adding more time isn’t a scalable solution. And it stunts our growth.

First, it turns us into super individual contributors, not better managers.

But, worse, it eventually undermines our performance.

Research by Morten Hansen from the University of California Berkley shows that increasing our time up to 50 hr/week lifts our performance.

But the benefits flatten out between 50 and 65 hr.

And beyond 65 hr, our performance declines.

Adding more hours only works to a point. And that point is well below what many managers work.

What’s the answer?

It’s to invest time now – ideally well before we reach the 50 to 60 hr limit – developing our people and systems of work.

To develop discipline and capability in the basics of good management: planning, prioritising, delegating and coaching.

To develop people – through coaching and accountability – to be their best selves.

This can be hard, because it’s often quicker to fix a problem ourselves than delegate it to a team member.

Or to fix the problem in hand, rather than the process that produced it.

And that might be true. But they’re short-sighted, Band-Aid solutions that keep us in overload.

Whereas taking the time is an investment in future performance.

An investment that pays long-term through:

  • The team’s growing impact
  • The individual’s growing sense of achievement, self-worth and employability
  • Your reducing workload, allowing you to take on more responsibility or – as Gino Wickman says – “to delegate and elevate”