If you’re like me, and you are, when someone asks you, “How many hours a week do you work?” you usually say, “It depends”. We say that because we’re lawyers and everything depends.
How many hours we work depends on how one defines “work”. Do we count being at our workplace as working?
Do we count thinking time? Reading time? What about driving time?
I’m guessing that most people who put in a “full” day spend only 25% of that time actually working. Show up for eight hours, you do about two hours of work. (Actually, I recall reading that the average person only works 90 minutes a day, but we’re not average, are we?)
And don’t get me started on billable hours.
So when I read about the notion that working more than 40 hours a week makes us less productive, I have to wonder what they mean by work. And while we’re on the subject, what do they mean by “less productive”?
We might get more done in less time working 40 hours a week, but so what? If we’re getting things done after 40 hours, we’re still getting things done.
And maybe we like what we do. Maybe it doesn’t feel like work. Maybe we don’t have hobbies or other things to occupy our time and, given the choice, we would prefer to keep working instead of resting or playing.
When someone tells us we’re working too hard, we should smile and nod and tell them they’re right, even if we disagree. Hard work never killed anyone, right? Yes, but what do we say when they tell us we’re not working hard enough?