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Why 9 to 5?

I’ve been doing web design/development for past 2 years, Even though I have office space, 9 to 5 never worked for me. I end up checking twitter, facebook, reading hacker news, techmeme, watching diggnation or Steve Jobs. I thought, this is a problem of mine. I was wrong. It is the problem of the office.

Factory

It all starts with the “Factory”. Factories were places, where people got mass employment. Factories were run 9 to 5. But, Factories had very good reason to do that. It costs an awful lot to operate a factory. Nobody can run a factory between 4pm – 9pm, in favor of say, 40% of enthusiastic and efficient workers. Workers can’t get a shift between 6am – 10am, take a break, then come to work at 3pm – 7pm. It was just not possible, the system demanded that you’d be there, and punished for not being punctual.

Knowledge Work

Then, came the knowledge work. Knowledge work solely depends on creativity of the workers. But, still some how, knowledge work-places got modeled around factories. Employees had to work 9-5, be creative between 9-5, and go home.

This is a problem, We cannot schedule brain to be creative at any given time. Sure, after sleep we are fresh, but fresh brain is not always, a creative brain. Modern day factories and tools are, a computer and/or a smartphone, which can work at the time of the user. But, still for some reason, knowledge workers are forced to work in rigid office hours.

Time Freedom

I’m noting a new trend. I get more meaningful work done, early in the morning (sometimes before brushing) than I do in the office for half a day. Sometimes I get work done after 11pm, Sometimes I feel productive in a midnight moving train, and get few things done. The more I force myself to do something at certain time, the more I dislike the work, and end up coming up with duct-tape solutions.

The solution is not to procrastinate and postpone all the work to tomorrow, But, acknowledge that there are stuff to be done, and work on them, when you really want to work on them.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous

While, this approach may work for per-determined, asynchronous work. i.e. you can choose which task to work on, at your time, when there is no other human involved with the actual work. Synchronous work still needs to be done at certain time. eg. appointments. Have good separation between synchronous and asynchronous tasks, work on asynchronous task at the time, you feel like working the task.

This approach to work, has had a great positive effect on how I work. I hope it has the same effect on you.

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Written by
Co-Founder Invoice Jet and Work Life