How to find your optimal number of working hours

We often get distracted by colleagues, an email or an unexpected notification on our mobile phone. Because of these distractions & many more, even though we spend a significant amount of time at our workplace, there are days when all we end up accomplishing is completing the single task at the top of your to-do list. If you are an agile worker, (which I going to assume that you are because you’re reading this blog post right now) it won’t be a surprise to you when I say, let’s measure it!

AA/B test your week

Let’s compare three very similar working weeks. During week A reduce the number of working hours by 20% which means that if normally you would work an average of 8 hours a day, try to reduce it to 6 or 6 an a half hours and in week B work your normal hours.

To prove that your measurements are correct, I suggest using the AAB test technique, which means that you need to repeat week A twice. Afterwards, if there is no significant difference between the two similar weeks, you can compare your original week A to your week B.

Tools: Trello + Toggl

Trello & Toggl are two of the major tools available online for project management. With the combination of the two, you can easily organize your time & then track your work to see how efficiently you are working.

Trello is a tool that allows you to organize your project and it’s tasks into manageable features/bugs/tasks or however you like to organize your project. It then directly integrates with Toggl (and with Storiesonboard) to help keep all your workflows connected.

Toggl helps you to keep track how much time your tasks actually take. Without tracking, you may assume that a simple task only takes you 5 minutes when in reality it takes 15. Repeat this same task multiple times over enough weeks and soon enough you’re a day or two behind and have no idea why.

If you are not already a Trello user, don’t worry you can still set up your clients, projects and most typical tasks on Toggl manually, so that you can focus on measuring time and not waste too much time on preparation for this experiment.

After a long day, sometimes we have this weird satisfaction, but you can only feel fully satisfied with your productivity if you have data to back it up.

Analyse your results

At the beginning of your experiment, check your results weekly. Choose your main KPI-s, such as X task took Y time, X2 task took Z time. On Toggl, you can add tags to your task so that you can indicate other factors, such as extremely tired, just back from a workout or how many coffees you had so far. By doing this you may find that after a workout you’re much more productive than normal for example.

There are of course other factors that can influence how many hours do you need to get things done, such as fitting in exercise (here goes the previous article about working out and productivity) or sleeping enough. Everyone’s body works differently so experiment & learn how yours works. If you are also a data nerd when it comes to productivity, measure it and let us know your results!

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