You are capable of doing far more work in a day or a week than you believe. The amount of work you believe you can do is not accurate, and it isn’t even likely that it was your belief, to begin with. You were infected with the belief, like most other things that you believe, much to your detriment.
I am not writing about sales here. I am writing about work, what you produce. I am going to use sales as an example to get us started in this conversation and then we will look elsewhere.
One group of salespeople work for a leader who demands that they make 40 outbound dials a day. This team makes just around 40 dials a day, with a half a dozen or so believing that if 40 is the most someone can do, they can’t do that much. The average comes in at something near 36 dials a day. Across town, another leader demands that his team makes 80 outbound dials a day. His team averages something close to 70 dials a day.
If you were to move a salesperson from the first company to the second, they would likely be unhappy with the increased work they would now be required to do on a daily basis. Moving someone from the second group to the first would most probably result in that person being pleased with how less work is required of her.
In both cases, the person’s personal standard would dominate. How they feel would be the result of what they believe.
The 40-hour work week was an agreement made between companies and their employees during the Industrial Age, as people moved into factories and did manual labor. Agreements between unions and companies resulted in a five-day work week. Before that time, you worked whatever hours were necessary to produce the life that you wanted for yourself and your people, including weekends.
When you think about your work and what is possible, hours at work is not a very good measurement anyway. A lot of people go to work, but they don’t go there to work.
I am not suggesting that you work 80 hours a week unless 80 hours a week is what you want (some of us love our work and working and find joy in working). What I am pointing to here is that fact that 40 hours is an artificial construct. It is a false limit on what you can do—if you so choose.
Whatever you believe your capacity for work is, it is worth exploring whether that is the true upper limit of what you are capable of, or whether you are capable of producing more than you are producing now, keeping in mind that results are a better measurement than hours worked.
This blog post is 486 words and it took me 22 minutes to write it.
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Filed under: Excellence