Working 9–5 is inefficient twice

I’m a bit of a nerd, so sometimes I care about things that others don’t care about. Maybe this is one of those things; maybe it isn’t. You decide!

One of the biggest downsides of working traditional hours—whether that’s nine to five, nine to six, or something similar—is that it’s hugely inefficient.

See, if you work 9–5, as most people do, you will be off work exactly when most people are off work. When you go to the grocery store after work, it’ll be busy with all the other people who are also just getting off work. And when you go to a fitness class before work, those classes will be full of people also trying to get a workout in before their work day starts. Want to take a short trip? It will probably have to be a weekend trip, just when most other people also want to take trips, so flights will be more expensive.

Not to mention that buses, trains, and roads are busy during rush hour. If you live in a city, do you ever move around the city between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays? It can be gloriously relaxing compared to getting around during rush hour.

Some might claim that it’s actually pretty efficient for most people to work the same hours, because that way it’s easier to communicate. If everybody worked at different times, communication would be slow, and that would hold up projects—right?

I believe the opposite is true! Because it is so easy to communicate with others when you’re working 9–5, it’s also easy to get distracted from the work that requires long, uninterrupted sessions—the most important work, the deep work.

So in my view, working 9–5 is a lose-lose: it’s inefficient during your free time (because most other people are also off work) as well as during your working hours (because most other people are also working).

Better to set your own working hours, based on what works for you.


— Peter

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