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Should You Work Every Day?

Understanding This From A Psychophysiological Perspective

By Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.Published 6 months ago 7 min read

There are a lot of different opinions on whether we should work every day.

At one end of the spectrum, you have China's 996 norm.

Working from 9 am to 9 pm (12 hours), 6 days per week.

Not too far from this, you have the pop culture phenomenon of "Hustle" made most famous in the business world by Gary Vee.

On the other end, you have people who are proponents of the "4-Hour Workweek", popularized by Tim Ferriss.

At a lesser extreme, experts claim that 4 Day, and even 3 Day, workweeks will become the norm.

So, which is correct?

Should we work all the time (or nearly all the time)?

Or should we be striving to work less?

When we get to a Psychophysiological perspective, the answer is quite interesting.

It depends!

I know that isn't the answer you're looking for.

But truly, this isn't a case of there being only "one" right way.

Along with this, there are a number of factors that will determine which is a better path for businesses.


The Goal

When we look at Psychophysiology, our goal here is Group Flow States.

For the purposes of this article, we're just going to focus on individual Flow States.

In Flow States, we feel our best, do our best work, and actually find work fulfilling.

Flow States are where we have our highest Productivity (5X More Productive) and where we experience our highest levels of Creativity and Innovation.

What we want to avoid is Dis-Stress, with its extreme being Burnout.

In Dis-Stress we are at our least productive, and in some cases, we become unproductive or achieve "Negative Productivity".

We also literally become blocked out of Creativity and Innovation due to how our nervous system reacts, and we tend to despise our work in these states.

So the answer to this question, "Should you work every day?" has a simple answer.

It depends on whether your work puts you into Flow States, or puts you into Dis-Stress that leads you toward Burnout.

A simple answer that answers nothing about how much we should work!

Oh the joys of attempting to "normalize" something for everyone!

A task that inevitably fails miserably every time, and often creates more problems than solutions!

Necessary Considerations

The other tricky thing to consider is, what do you consider "work"?

Is work what creates the real results of what you do?

Does work include menial responsibilities that don't really accomplish anything but still need to get done?

Will you include activities that help you grow as a part of your work, but perhaps aren't directly impacting your other work (yet)?

There is another important factor that you need to consider here.

What type of Recovery do you have?

Do you get any recovery at all?

What is your Energy (Mg-ATP) like?

Are you able to produce Mg-ATP efficiently?

Depending on how your answer these types of questions will indicate how often you should "work".

Existing Problems

Now, I find China's 996 and Hustle Culture extremely problematic.

It isn't necessarily because of the hours involved, but rather it is because these usually de-emphasize the human requirement of Recovery.

These models also tend to focus on meaningless work for the sake of "Hustling" or Getting More Hours.

You "might" get away with 12-hour work days if you include Recovery Protocols as a required activity within those 12 hours.

However, this is generally frowned upon instead of encouraged.

The word "Hustle" means to, "move hurriedly in a specified direction", which is fine in business.

But "Hustle Culture" often does not define a specific direction, as long as you continue to "Hustle".

That simply becomes a great way to end up in Burnout quickly with no results to show for it.

Hustle Culture also frowns upon Recovery Protocols, even though Physiologically they are required for Flow States!

So, this seems to indicate that less hours might be the better route.

However, this isn't necessarily true either.

When you force humans not to do anything for long periods of time, one of two things will happen.

If they abide by not doing anything, they tend to feel useless and lose their sense of "purpose" as well as "autonomy".

These are not beneficial to creating Flow and are both negative for overall Wellbeing.

On the flip side, if people do not abide by doing nothing, they end up seeking out meaning and Flow in different ways.

This may not be "productive" from a "work" perspective, but it is incredibly important from a Wellbeing and Flow perspective.

If work does not bring you Flow States, then less work and more time to gain Flow States from outside sources WILL improve work productivity!

From a different angle, if your work DOES bring you into Flow States, but you are prevented from doing that work regularly, it creates problems!

What Does This Mean?

So, should we work every day?

I do!

Now, I'm not working 12-hour days, 7 days a week.

Some days I only work for a few hours, and other days I do significantly more hours!

But I work 7 days a week because I write every day!

For me, writing is a Flow Activity!

The more I do it, the more fulfilled I feel, the more my Wellbeing increases, and the more productive I become in my work overall!

With this, I also have a lot of protocols that I do daily for Recovery.

Recovery is ESSENTIAL for Peak Performance and Flow States.

So I "personally" see Recovery as a form of "Work".

Now, some employers may not agree that "Recovery" should be considered "Work".

If that is the case, then those employers should consider working employees fewer hours so that those employees can get their necessary Recovery.

We also need to consider if the work being done actually leads to Flow States.

If it does, then it can be beneficial to have more hours of that work throughout the week (as long as Recovery is maintained).

But if the work does not produce Flow on the team, then work should be minimized so that employees can get the benefits of Flow elsewhere and bring a higher level of Wellbeing to the office.

This doesn't mean we should necessarily compensate people for not doing work or getting results, but it should indicate how we structure jobs and teams.


The teams that get into Group Flow States together will be the teams that have the highest levels of success in the long run.

Teams that create Dis-Stress and Burnout will eventually become bloated and will fail to get results.

Stress is not a Solo Game, and eventually, Dis-Stress can spread through teams making everyone less effective.

To put this in perspective, let's take 2 teams.

The first team has half as many people as the second, who only work 2 days per week (8-hour days), but are ALWAYS in Group Flow (Even if most of their Flow is obtained outside of work).

The second team has twice as many people as the first, who work 5 days per week (8-hour days), but are ALWAYS in Dis-Stress or Burnout.

Based on the statistics, they would accomplish about the same amount of work from a productivity standpoint.

However, the first team people would LOVE being a part of.

The second team is likely filled with people who despise their jobs, talk about leaders behind their backs, and likely have high levels of Active Disengagement.

In the long run, the first team would outclass the second team by leagues.

The second organization would also be demanding more employees while not getting significantly more results - which is something we are actually seeing in the workforce right now.

Part of the reason so many organizations are desperate for employees that don't exist is because they are failing to get Psychophysiology on their side.

If instead of focusing on getting more employees, they focused on creating less Dis-Stress/Burnout and increasing Group Flow States, they would be able to reduce their workforce AND be more Productive, Creative, AND Innovative!

Final Takeaway

If you are asking the question, "Should you work every day?" or even "What is the right amount of hours to work?", you are simply asking the wrong questions.

You should be asking questions about Psychophysiology that lead to increasing Group Flow States.

How often can I get my teams to work in Flow States?

Are our Leaders capable of generating Group Flow States on their Teams?

How can I ensure that employees are at the highest levels of Wellbeing?

Should I consider Recovery a Work activity?

What resources can I prepare my teams with so they can handle anything that is bringing Dis-Stress?

Stop trying to over-generalize, and start Cultivating your teams!

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About the Creator

Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.

Creator of the Multi-Award-Winning Category "Legendary Leadership" | Faith, Family, Freedom, Future | The Legendary Leadership Coach, Digital Writer (450+ Articles), & Speaker


[email protected]

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