Nobody Cares That You Only Had the Weekend is another tale of trying to work in an increasingly fast-paced world. Unlike Morville’s request that we all slow down if we hope to produce quality, David Baldwin seems to think quality work can be produced in half the time and speed means new tactics, not fighting to go slower.
Who’s right? I don’t know. Sometimes longer timelines means one just procrastinates then rushes at the end. Sometimes long timelines means one ruminates, and the solution flows out effortlessly. Sometimes longer timelines means time to explore the wackier ideas, and allows for innovation. Sometimes it leads to taking on two or three projects at once, and still working 15 hour days. Depends on the company, depends on the freelancer.
In my personal experience a gentle timeline leads to rumination which leads to breakthroughs. You can’t “sleep on it” when it’s due tomorrow. I often have important breakthroughs in problems when I do go to sleep, or when I take an hour walk, or when I go cook dinner or wash dishes. The break from the problem allows the subconscious mind to go to work. When horrid deadlines loom, one tends to chain oneself to the computer, locked in a stressfilled countdown where any solution is better than staring at a blank screen.
Consider that we Americans have the least amount of vacation than any other country (Annual vacation days: Italy 42; France 37; Germany 35; Brazil 34; Britain 28; Canada 26; South Korea 25; Japan 25; U.S. 13.), and consider even a week of vacation can reduce chance of heart attack. Consider this information from an Oxford health survey: “Some 34 percent report they have such pressing jobs that they have no down time at work. A full 32 percent work and eat lunch at the same time. Meanwhile, 32 percent never leave the building once they arrive at work; 19 percent say their job makes them feel older than they are and 17 percent say work causes them to lose sleep at home.”
Now let’s look at speed. It may produce bad work, it may produce good work, but it uses employees like firewood.
Something has to change. The world actually has enough advertisements for candy bars, the world has enough espresso makers. Why don’t we slow down?
Slow down. Make better products. More importantly, make better lives.