We all want to get as much stuff done as we can, but maybe we are going about it the wrong way.
An experiment in the 1940s measured men loading pig iron onto train freight cars at The Bethlehem Steel Company. Each man didn’t stop until they managed 121⁄2 tons. By noon, they were exhausted and could do no more.
The next day, they were told to load the pig iron for 26 minutes. Then rest for 34 minutes. They rested more than they worked. At the end of the day, they had each loaded 47 tons. That’s almost 4 times as much as working flat out.
It feels counter-intuitive, but a sprint followed by an even longer rest will deliver better results than plodding along for years.
Yup, the real badge of honour at work is not to work longer than anyone else, but to work smarter than anyone else.