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  • Jun 17, 2022
  • 6 Min

How the Hours You Work Can Affect Your Productivity and Happiness


Expert advice on how to make your work life easier

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Did you know the hours you work can affect your productivity and happiness, which means affecting the quality of your life?

To make the most of each day and increase your productivity, you need to review your work hours, how you work, and why you work the hours you do.

The Correlation Between Long Work Hours and Productivity

Long work hours and productivity has been studied for many years. Anyone who has spent time measuring the effects of working more than a 38-hour workweek has reached the conclusion that long hours negatively impact your productivity.


Working longer than 40 hours per week can lead to burnout. This is because you don’t have any more energy left after a certain point in time. This is a sabotaging productivity law. This makes it important to pay more attention to your workweek.

Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress, frustration and the inability to relax.

Other risks you take when you work over 40 hours and up to 55 hours per week, include:

  • High levels of stress
  • Health problems, which can include heart disease or other cardiovascular disease
  • Poor sleep quality because of lost hours of sleep, which can lead to unhealthy sleep habits
  • A compromised sleep schedule, which affects your sleep health
  • Lower sense of well-being
  • Higher level of depression
  • Poor performance and increased risk of mistakes or accidents at work
  • Poor mental and physical health, which can lead to time away from work
  • Higher likelihood of quitting your job
  • Reduced focus and time for other areas of life

When you work too much, the sabotaging productivity law kicks in and it becomes difficult to maintain good relationships, and you can also lose sight of your priorities. This can cause you to become less focused on what really matters.

The Ideal Number of Hours to Work Each Day

There isn’t a magic number of hours everyone should work. Measuring productivity is an important focus because that affects a company’s bottom line.

There are a few different optimal numbers of hours you should work each day if you want to be as productive as you can be.

According to Adam Grant, The Wharton School’s top Associate Professor, the typical 9-to-5 work day should end two hours earlier, making it a six-hour work day. This means shorter work days and shorter workweeks.

In an experiment in Sweden, when employees at a nursing home adopted a six-hour work day, productivity and health in the workplace improved.

So it’s never about the number of hours you work if measuring productivity is important. It’s about how effective you are when working so you maximize the time you have, which is why it’s valuable to invest time measuring how productive you are.

Countries and companies are now adopting alternative work schedules. These include:

  • Four-day workweeks
  • Six-hour days
  • Work from home, which saves travel time
  • Create Remote Teams
  • Flexible work hours

The happiest countries have flexible work hours and also offer flexible vacation days. Some countries like Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK allow people to work different hours depending on their preferences.

Rarely do workers in the happiest countries in the world work more than 55 hours. Even though 40 hours is the norm in other countries, those in the happiest countries aim for a 38-hour workweek or less.

Working fewer hours means more time for other activities in life, which can include time with family, time for hobbies, health, and other activities. It also allows you to relax and get some rest.

It’s important to find what works best for you, especially if you’re a business owner, and to take advantage of options available to increase your productivity.

How Does the Hours You Work Affect Your Happiness?

How the hours you work can affect your productivity and happiness. Productivity Gains and Time Savings with FuseBase taskboard. Image by FuseBase

The belief that working long hours will make you happy because you think you’re getting more done is not true.

For example, you may feel like you would get more things done if you worked longer hours, but you also might experience higher levels of stress.

Happiness is a feeling that’s generated in your mind. When you feel stressed, not only can it reduce your happiness, it can also lower your productivity.

High achievers often don’t know when to stop. The more they achieve, the more they want to achieve, so the cycle continues. This often does not lead to a healthy work-life balance.

When you’re feeling stressed or burned out, you won’t enjoy the little moments in life. Instead, you may focus on the negative aspects of life, which will further reduce your happiness.

The Advantages of Working Fewer Hours

The benefits of working fewer hours include:

  • More vacation days
  • Fewer sick days
  • Less burnout
  • Increased productivity and effectiveness, which means more success
  • Better job satisfaction, which can lead to higher levels of innovation
  • More time for leisure activities or hobbies
  • Reduced levels of stress
  • Higher pay, which improves self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Improved relationships
  • Better quality of life

Ways to Reduce the Hours You Work

If you work long every week, steps you can take to work less include:

  • Using better tools such as FuseBase, to become more productive
  • Automating tasks
  • Delegating tasks that are not important
  • Doing fewer things, but doing them better
  • Focusing only on things that are priorities

How to Increase Productivity and Save Time with FuseBase

How the hours you work can affect your productivity and happiness. Productivity Gains and Time Savings with FuseBase. Image by FuseBase

FuseBase (formerly Nimbus) started as a note-taking app, similar to Evernote and Notion, but has now evolved into a collaboration hub. This includes internal collaboration with your team or external collaboration with clients.

Features FuseBase offers include:

  • Super documents where you can gather multi-format information on one page, which means you do not have to search your inbox or cloud storage for your documents. You can add text, audio and video files, PDF files and images
  • Multiple embedding features and integrations, which means you do not have to switch between apps while you’re working. You can integrate apps such as Google Docs and Sheets, Google Analytics, Microsoft Excel tables, YouTube videos and much more
  • Easily shareable pages via a link
  • Downloading on any device and working offline
  • And so much more!

Work smarter, not harder. Try FuseBase to make it happen!

Question for our readers: What was your biggest takeaway and how will you adjust the hours you work to improve your productivity and happiness?

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