Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was just reading this article

If what they are saying in this article is true, doesn't that mean that working on personal projects, like for example open-source projects hurt our productivity at work?

share|improve this question
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Its a fairly big if - and raises questions like 'Raising kids is hard work - should that count towards my 40hours when I get back home from work?'

But, even if true, I suspect that what actually is being said here is "People are only good at doing things that don't want to do for 40 hours a week" - if you're the sort of person whose happy to volunteer for an open-source project in your spare time then I might imagine that you enjoy it and get benefit from it.

I enjoy my job, I get all manner of benefits from it, and I'd be inclined to do very similar things even without pay. I don't expect to see a blog post saying "Activities that are fun and beneficial to you should be limited to only X hours a week."

share|improve this answer

Activities you choose can improve productivity on your main job that 'you don't want to do' as they can give you a chance to forget the frustrations of the day job, relax and release.

In addition to my main job (60 hours a week) I volunteer for a range of organisations, and play in a band and I find each has aspects which make the others easier to cope with:

  • The band is a zero brain, all feeling activity - I can release frustrations, run around on stage, shout etc.
  • The voluntary organisations directly help others and I get that sort of feedback straight away
  • The day job is very complex and hard work, but has measurable goals and wins
  • Being a parent to 3 kids is emotionally very rewarding, but expensive, and frustrating :-)

Together, it all just works - the day after a big gig I find I gain motivation at work, and a good work day helps me feel more energetic when taking my kids out to play sports etc.

share|improve this answer

My biggest problem with articles like that is their inability to take individuals' experiences into account. Like @Joe said, I don't expect to see a blog post saying "Activities that are fun and beneficial to you should be limited to only X hours a week."

For me, the work-life balance has always been about fulfillment. [[|Here's]] a good start on that idea. I don't know when the shift happened, but my father's generation had a job and had outside hobies. Think of Dad going ot the office every day, but doing woodworking or car repairs at night. I've noticed in recent years that instead of having "day jobs" a lot more people are figuring out how to parlay what they love into an income stream. Those people, myself included don't face the drudgery of work because they love the work so much. Their work is fulfilling and fun and energizing.

I agree with @Joe that the study is likely based on 40 hours of doing something that doesn't fulfill you.

I believe that finding that fulfillment should be paramount. If that means stopping work after 40 hours to pursue your passions, by all means do that. However, if you're fortunate enough to make money from your passion, the 40 hour rule ceases to be relevant--within the context of maintaining healthy relationships around you, of course.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.