The Manage Playbook

Productivity is a time-honored American obsession.

Self-help books about the subject fly off shelves, enterprises embrace process-improvement doctrines with cultish zeal, and we spend collective billions on technologies that promise to make us more effective.

The irony of this obsession is that one of the main behaviors it elicits—working longer hours—is fundamentally unproductive. Some of the reasons are intuitively obvious; overwork strains the happiness and wellbeing of employees which can lead to reduced motivation and expensive turnover. However, there is a well-established body of evidence indicating that it makes us outright worse at our jobs as well.