It’s Saturday morning (or Sunday) and you’re the only one in the office. You’ve wearing shorts and a teeshirt and haven’t shaved. That’s okay. You’re not going to see any clients today.
You put on a pot of coffee. It’s quiet. No phones ringing, no voices down the hall, and you can think. Maybe it’s too quiet, so you turn on the radio and get a background buzz of music or talk radio.
You’ve got a blizzard of files and papers on your desk. It’s been a busy week and you’re behind on a bunch of things. You push everything into one or two piles to clear some work space on the desk, and you dig in.
In a few hours, you’ve gone through most of the backlog. You’ve dictated letters and instructions to your secretary. You’ve dictated a declaration for a motion that needs to be filed next week. You’ve reviewed some older files and made notes about what needs to be done. You’ve reviewed and signed invoices that are ready to go out. You’ve signed checks to pay bills.
Finally, you filled your briefcase with files you need for court on Monday, turned off the coffee pot and radio, turned off the lights and went home.
Nicely done. It feels good. You’re looking forward to dinner and a relaxing evening with the family.
I remember this scenario well. I went through it often. Once every month or two I went to the office and got caught up and organized. I’d get a week’s worth of work done in a few hours.
But I knew guys who were in the office every weekend. They came in early and stayed late. Not just when they were prepping for trial–it was a regular work day for them. They would see clients and put in a full day.
That’s too much. You’ve got to recharge. You’ve got to have a life outside of work.
Apparently, what most of us intuitively understand has a scientific basis in fact. According to a study, “productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that there’s no point in working any more.”
Working on weekends once in awhile is fine. If you’re working every weekend, however, you might want to consider whether it’s worth it because the odds are it’s not.