Work hard, then play hard, for best results

Very very few can run at speed for long, like Mo Farah – we need to pause, rest and recover – only then can we rejoin the race and compete

Nils Salzgeber (aka Hacker Noon), in a recent post, claims this is because ‘all organisms on this planet follow rhythms’

The most famous is the circadian rhythm where, over a 24 hour period, we’re awake for 15-17 hours, spending energy, and asleep for 7-9 hours, recovering, given our energy resources aren’t limitless

Hence, not even Usain Bolt can sprint flat out for more than 10-20 seconds – equally, we can’t concentrate/ be alert and creative for hours and hours on end – our performance levels soon plummet after a short while – a rest/ recovery period is then needed – it’s why critics of staff who use social media at work might be well advised to take a step back and reflect on the likely impact of their views on productivity levels

So to maximise our performance/ productivity levels, the suggestion is ‘best to have periods of intense activity followed by periods of intense rest’ – a series of sprints, not a never-ending marathon

But this is not how most of us live

Most are never fully on, nor fully off – instead, always partially engaged, thinking about work even when at home, even in bed – they prefer to be doing something rather then be ‘bone idle’

Few take frequent breaks, most indulge interruptions even when trying to concentrate on one problem say – most plough on even when dog-tired

Then home time comes – we suffer commuting tedium before flopping on the sofa in front of the telly and watching some dull programme or bad news i.e. fun factor zero

This half-way house is no place to live – work hard, then play hard is a far better work/ play formula – you’ll get much more done that way

Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr go further in their new book The Power of Full Engagement – they say:

“To get the most out of your working day, go full out for 90 to 120 minutes and then take a break for 15 to 20 minutes”

“And if you try to resist this with the use of caffeine, nicotine, cocaine or amphetamines, toxins and stress hormones will build up in your system and, over time, take a toll on your body – they’re definitely NOT a long term solution”


  • “When are you supremely satisfied? Not when you lounge around doing nothing but when you have everything to do, and do it” – Margaret Thatcher
  • Most people like to be busy, not idle – to be too busy is far far better than to be bone idle


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