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Why 40 hours weeks might make you more productive
Thread poster: Alain Dellepiane

Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:54
English to Italian
May 14, 2008

Just a brief article on the matter, from a field that has similar issues to ours (multimedia)

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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:54
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'm legally drunk! May 14, 2008

According to the article:

In the short term, working over 21 hours continuously is equivalent to being legally drunk. Longer periods of continuous work drastically reduce cognitive function and increase the chance of catastrophic error. In both the short- and long-term, reducing sleep hours as little as one hour nightly can result in a severe decrease in cognitive ability, sometimes without workers perceiving the decrease.

But I have to deliver a translation, and the client demands a well job, done in a very short time! I think I will share it with him!

And with my husband, who is a mechanical engineer and starts working at 8:30 am and leaves the office at 7:30 pm.

Thanks for the article, Alain.

Have a good night!

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Fascinating May 14, 2008

I'd never given it much thought before.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work... After all, it's almost 4:40 a.m.

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Ivelina Todorova  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Good point, thanks for the article, Alain May 14, 2008

I am a freelancer and I sometimes do last minute translations, meaning I have to work long hours and reduce the hours I sleep to 4 per night.
I am aware that sleeping less then 6 hours reduces productivity, ( I have read it in a book ), that it can make you feel nervous on the 3rd or 4th day, accoring to my experience too.

So what I do when I finish an urgen task I give myself 3 days of total rest, catching on sleep, enjoying life at a slow pace, meeting friends, having fun, etc.

And I also think twice before taking an urgent translation of any kind!!

Regards, Ivelina

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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:54
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
yeah, but May 15, 2008

Last week I translated a huge project...55k words in 7 days.
The last three days I slept all of 4 hours...not each night, but total...
Sometimes one just has to knuckle down and take these jobs, because, well,
sometimes there isn't much work, and, the bills don't stop coming in...

I think, on average, I probably am working around 60 hours now, which is good.
Last year I was working around 80.
It was a good year on the books!
I did start this year feeling a little burnt out, though.

Ideally, I'd rather raise my rates and work less, but, the market it just too competitive,
so, I keep rates "reasonable" and get lots of work, lots of repeat clients.

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Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:54
English to Italian
It's slightly different May 15, 2008

I don't think that the core of that article is the old fight between intensive work and quality of life. What it raises is, in my opinion, a much more interesting paradox: what if controlling my
work hours made me more proctive?

Usually I would just stay at the Pc "until it's done". After reading the article, I thought of trying a different approach, sticking to the clock: 8>10, then 30 minutes break, 10.30>12.30 and one hour break and ditto for this afternoon for a total of eight hours.

The strange thing I notice is that, literally forcing myself to take the breaks, I was _eager_ to come back to work afterwards, and thus much faster. You feel your must make the most of your work hours, because they aren't endless anymore.

Funny tricks of our mind! Anyway, so far my "rigid" schedule "produced" exactly the same as before, with the added benefit of breaks. We'll see how it goes on the long term, though. If anyone else has tried something similar, or wants to try, feel free to comment.

Now, you will excuse me, I have a break to do

[Edited at 2008-05-15 06:03]

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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:54
Member (2008)
French to English
I've always believed this to be the case May 16, 2008

I do such poor quality work if I don't eat regular meals and exercise, or if I work after 9 at night or on less than 6 hours of sleep that it isn't even worth doing, it all has to be redone. I make a million typos and miss false cognates that wouldn't trip up a high school kid. Time off can be a very good investment.

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