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by David N Johnson

November 1, 2019

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Don’t confuse working hard with working efficiently. It’s easy to take what the hustle gurus are saying, and fall victim to the more is more fallacy. Hours worked is the wrong metric to track.

  • Not living the life you dreamed of? Work more hours. Wrong!
  • Are you tired of the 9 to 5? Work more hours. Wrong!
  • Bad relationship? Work more hours, make more money, get a new relationship. Wrong!
  • Hate your boss? Work more hours, become their boss, and fire them. Wrong!

It’s all wrong. Every. Single. Word. Of. It. Why? Because when a measure becomes the primary target, it ceases to be effective. That’s the very crux of Goodhart’s Law.

In other words, when you put hours worked over the quality of the time you produce, your output becomes more about the time put in than the value you create. That’s like getting your car stuck in the mud and flooring the gas pedal. Yeah, it may look impressive with mud flying everywhere, but you’re still in the same spot as you were before.

Hours worked becomes less impressive when it leads to bad health, poor relationships, and lost time. Instead, focus on creating value and working efficiently.

That brings up another law, Campbell’s Law. It states that the more a metric is used, the more corrupt the process intended to monitor it becomes.

How many times do you watch a video or see a post from some online guru or another spouting off at the mouth about only needing 4 hours of sleep? To get ahead, you have to work hard, they say.

True, but if you’re only working hard at putting in the hours and not on the value of your output, then all your doing is wasting the gift that is life.

Today is not the day that you let your work ethic slip. Today is the day that you look at the hours you’re putting in and ask yourself if they mean something. Are they quality hours or just a measure of quantity? Can you work fewer hours but produce a higher quality output? Yes? Then, what’s stopping you?

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David N Johnson

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David N Johnson

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