Lawyers are known for working extremely long hours, sometimes seven days a week. But are they really increasing their productivity by putting in all that extra time? Not according to Geoffrey James in a Time Business article called Stop Working More than 40 Hours a Week.
The article reports on how Ford Motor Company ran dozens of tests to determine the optimum number of work hours for productivity, and discovered that 40 hours a week is the most sustainably productive schedule. While adding another 20 hours to the work week provided a minor increase in productivity, it was only temporary. After three to four weeks, it began to have a negative effect on production.
Many executives, such as the chief operating officer of Facebook, make sure to leave the office every day by 5:30 p.m. so they can spend time with their families. Over the long term, will it really increase the overall productivity of your law firm if your associates are burned out, going through divorces, and resenting their employer? Wouldn't you be happier if you could spend a little more time with the people you love, the people who you are working so hard to support in the first place?
If you are consistently spending more than 40 hours a week in the office, it is time for you to reevaluate your business plan. Are you being productive with your time? Are you wasting time on tasks that you should be delegating to someone else?