People Often Work Weekends for the 'Productivity High'

Why would anyone work on the weekend? Turns out some people get a productivity high.

Some people like to take time from relaxing on the weekend to work. It sounds unthinkable, I know. Why would anyone work on the weekend? Well, researchers Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats found that some people get a high from being productive.


Gino writes for the Harvard Business Review that she began the study by asking a group of 500 employed individuals to reminisce and write about a time when they felt either “productive at work, very busy, unproductive, or not busy at all.” Gino focused on the participants that wrote about a productive time. She found that those people “reported feeling at their best and happy with life — more so than in any other condition. It is by feeling productive, these data suggest, that we believe we are making some sort of a difference in the world.”

Of course, this study doesn't mean people should drop their weekend plans to work. Staats headed up a separate study that shows, while some people may get pleasure out of their work, they still need to take a break — lest they want the quality of their work to suffer.

Staats, along with a group of colleagues, used three years of data that comprised of 4,157 caregivers from 35 hospitals in the United States. The team zeroed in on data concerning hand-washing rates throughout a 12-hour shift. At the beginning of that shift, caregivers tended to follow the hand-washing regulations, but as their shift went on, the rates went down by an average of 8.7 percent.

The researchers add:

“The decline in compliance was magnified on days when a caregiver’s work was more intense (e.g., when he or she saw more patients). Just as the repeated exercise of muscles leads to physical fatigue, repeated use of cognitive resources produces a decline in an individual’s self-regulatory capacity.”

So, while working on the weekend might feel nice, don't let it take up your entire time to recoup. One study suggests that after 49 hours of work in a week, productivity begins a sharp decline. Juliet Schor, a sociologist and economist at Boston College, goes further. She thinks that fewer hours in the workweek would allow people more time to meet their needs in a way to break away from market dependency:

The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
  • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
  • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
Keep reading Show less

What the world will look like in the year 250,002,018

This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now

On Pangaea Proxima, Lagos will be north of New York, and Cape Town close to Mexico City
Surprising Science

To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.

Keep reading Show less

From zero to hero in 18 years: How SpaceX became a nation-state

SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk celebrates after the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Earlier in the day NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley lifted off an inaugural flight and will be the first people since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched into space from the United States.

Photo:Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • SpaceX was founded in 2002 and was an industry joke for many years. Eighteen years later, it is the first private company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
  • Today, SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. The journey will take about 19 hours.
  • Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, looks at SpaceX's journey from startup to a commercial space company with the operating power of a nation-state.
Keep reading Show less

Six-month-olds recognize (and like) when they’re being imitated

A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.

Personal Growth
  • Scientists speculate imitation helps develop social cognition in babies.
  • A new study out of Lund University shows that six-month-olds look and smile more at imitating adults.
  • Researchers hope the data will spur future studies to discover what role caregiver imitation plays in social cognition development.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Scroll down to load more…