Sustainable Pace

From IfXpIsntWorkingYoureNotDoingXp:

Related : FortyHourWeek , ThirtyHourWeeks, WorkWhenYoureFreshStopWhenYoureTired , WorkSmarterNotHarder?? , KentOnWardOnSustainablePace, EightHourBurn, DecompressionDebt

The rule should be called SustainablePace, not FortyHourWeek. The notion is that productivity does not increase with hours worked. Tired programmers are less productive than well-rested ones. Teams in investment banks, start-ups, and "fast-moving" environments ought to know for sure whether working 100 hour weeks is actually more productive than some other number. --RonJeffries
You can have other aspects of your life. There is one sure thing that will kill any project! That's the belief that you must give yourself utterly to it. It's the death of marriage, it is the death of any work environment. In other words, to say, "I must deprive myself of other things while I give my attention only to you," only goes a short while and then, before you know it, you come to hate the thing that was giving you life before. -- "Abraham"
On another note, I'm wondering about SustainablePace with cases where projects may only occur in short bursts, as with a consulting firm. There seems to be a conflict between billing more hours, thus increasing revenue for your firm, and maintaining optimum productivity for the client. -- JasonYip
Practically speaking, I've found that an accelerated pace (50+ hours a week) shouldn't be sustained over more than two weeks in the middle of a project. Anything that would "require" a longer period of time than that is indicative of a flaw in the process or system, and you need to step back, slow down, fix it, and start moving again. Some deliverables might be delayed in the process, but in the end its for the greater good. The number of weeks might be as high as 4 for the end of a project/milestone/release, but if you're going to make that gamble, the project needs to end after that sprint, or at least seriously slow down for a while to let people recover. -- AndrewMccormick
The problem I find with trying to work efficiently is that my work/rest cycles just refuse to fit in with a standard 24-hour day! I find that when I am most productive I tend to be working in rather longer "sessions" than a standard working day would allow. This in itself is not the problem; the problem is that there is usually someone expecting you to turn up at 8.30 or 9.00am the following day. Insistence on standard "office hours" kills a lot of productivity. The flipside of this is that without an insistence on standard office hours, a lot of people would work far more than they ought -- YouCanOnlyWorkAsHardAsYouRest? (seems to me to be the best "quickie" description of what we're trying to get at here).

I'm feeling like an old man who can only repeat mantras, but the only solution in that case is to either change your organization, or change your organization.
The Mars Exploration Rover team has a sleep researcher, James Maas, on the team. On the Pathfinder mission in 1997, the team burnt out, working straight through for almost 30 days. The MER missions will last 3 months or more, so the teams are being coached on getting rest. They work on a 24hr39m day, to match the Martian day. Cornell researchers and other visiting scientists work four martian "days" on and two off. Resident JPL scientists (people who live in Pasadena, CA) get longer three-sol weekends.
Since the means determine the ends, working at a sustainable pace is the only path to SustainableDevelopment?. For me, that means reducing/eliminating WorkingForMoney? and transforming it into WorkingForLove?... or better still, WorkThatIsntWork. At the moment, I guess I have about 4 hours a week WorkingForMoney?, maybe 24 hours WorkingForLove?, and perhaps 12 hours WorkThatIsntWork. The rest of the time is just time-wasting... -- RobertAlcock
A sustainable pace is the most productive way to work, according to science. http://www.igda.org/articles/erobinson_crunch.php --DarrenHobbs

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