Forget the 40-hour workweek

Here’s my new business philosophy: I think we should toss the 40-hour workweek.


I mean, who decided that the standard workweek should consist of 40 hours anyway? If you think about it, the purpose of any given job is to accomplish a certain number of things in a designated amount of time, right? But why do you need a “designated amount of time?” What if the amount time you spent on said things was irrelevant, thereby forcing all of the relevance to the thing accomplished?

What I’m trying to say is that I think business should function on a goal-based workweek.

[Disclaimer: I realize that there are some jobs for which the job itself requires time as a framework. Take retail for example. A person must be present in the store during operating hours to serve the customers. However, this could still apply to some aspects of those jobs.]

At the beginning of a goal-based workweek, you would set a series of goals/projects to accomplish in that week’s time. It might take you 40 hours or 10 hours or 80 hours. The point is to accomplish your objectives in the most efficient way. So instead of thinking to yourself “I have 40 hours to do X, Y, and Z” your thinking would be, “I need to accomplish X, Y, and Z this week no matter how long it takes.” Then, you wouldn’t have to feel guilty or try to fill time if you finish in 20 hours, but you also have to stick it out if it takes 70.

What often happens during the typical workweek can be explained by Parkinson’s Law. It states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. So based on Parkinson’s Law, if you have 40 hours available in any given workweek, it will take you 40 hours to complete your tasks.

This just seems so inefficient to me. There is little incentive for efficiency.

How much more efficient could you be if you knew you could go home as soon as your projects were finished for the week?

Hopefully I will get a chance to try this someday. I’ll let you know how it goes.