Working less, deliberately

Interesting research on how we might be more productive working 4 days a week, and/or 4 hours a day.

The basic premise is that humans are severely limited in our cognitive capacity, and working more than that amount of time actually causes us to do worse:

The [productivity] curve rose steeply at first and peaked at between 10 to 20 hours per week. The curve then turned downward. Scientists who spent 25 hours in the workplace were no more productive than those who spent five. Scientists working 35 hours a week were half as productive as their 20-hours-a-week colleagues.

I recently finished Why We Sleep, which makes a persuasive argument that while studying and exercising are important, we only learn and grow when we sleep. Perhaps our cognitive capacity is capped not by the amount we work or study, but by how much we can then solidify through rest?

The 4-hours-a-day article closes with a similar thought:

This is how we’ve come to believe that world-class performance comes after 10,000 hours of practice. But that’s wrong. It comes after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, 12,500 hours of deliberate rest, and 30,000 hours of sleep.