How much do you (really) work? The myth exposed

Laura Vanderkam, in What The Most Successful People Do At Work, states that extensive studies of work logs show people tend to vastly overestimate the amount of actual work they do.

Interestingly, the more professional one is and the more one claims to work, the greater the exaggeration. 
Part of this is that an hourly worker knows how much she’s working . . . her employee time clock and paycheck maintains her accuracy. 

Yet when you get to managers and knowledge workers, a hyperinflation of estimated time worked commonly crops up. 

Possibly because they FEEL they’re working so much.
Someone who claims to work 75 hours a week will on average be exaggerating by 25 hours. (!) 
If you claim to work 65-74 hours a week you are still likely to be hyping by an additional 20 hours. 
Even those who say they work between 55-64 hours a week were off by 10 hours.
As Vanderkam states:

We live in a competitive world, and boasting about the number of hours we work has become a way to demonstrate how devoted we are to our jobs.

It’s also a way of lying to ourselves about where our time goes. 

If you’re working so freaking much, how could you possibly __________ [pick any number of other things you say you’d like to do in your life but say you don’t have time for, taking energizing breaks included]. 

Knowing there’s a fair amount of bull scheisse (it’s German, it means what you think it means) floating around about hours worked, you can happily take yourself out of that particular game and enjoy those other hours you have. You can seize those hours for yourself. 

There’s something freeing in admitting you have time. The myth of not enough time is unhealthy. Simply the idea you do not have enough time precludes you from using your time in dreamy, delightful ways for yourself.

Though Vanderkam doesn’t go into it, I suspect as you do, that we vastly underestimate time spent FaceBooking, internet surfing and TV trancing.

When you take into account you’re not likely working as much as you think, and then you snip a few of those other hours back from digital devices . . . my god, you’ve got a life brewing now!

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