I’ve had this on my hard drive for years:
It’s really short, mostly pictures. It basically says that if you work over 40 (possibly 35 for "knowledge work) hours a week for more than a month, you tend to burn out and your productivity goes down. As the attention span decreases so does your ability to perform quality work.
Has this been true for any of the forum members? How quickly does your productivity drop off measured over a 1-3 month time frame?
I think this depends on whether it "feels" like "work" to you or not. Sometimes I’ll spend 16 hours a day every day for weeks and have no loss in productivity, because I thoroughly enjoy what I do. To me, it’s like playing a video game: the more you do it, the better you get.
Hard for me to answer.
It is difficult for me to force productivity. My record is 30+ days of 16 hours-per-day of productive work. It was very difficult and mentally painful.
I am most productive when I’m not forced into a schedule, in other words, when I can work until 5 am and not have to worry about getting up the next day. That’s because my productivity comes in bursts in between periods of learning and thinking. Once I get something straight in my head, I will generally work on it non stop until I finish it.
The key for me is to know when I’m in one of those non-productive periods. So, instead of "pretending" to work by surfing the forums, etc., I will go and do something active (walk the dog, rock out on my drum kit, clean up around the house, etc.), rest, and then come back refreshed.
It works for me.
I’ll point out that in the graph above, the same amount of productive works gets done. The difference, though, is that the person working inefficiently is missing out on other things that he/she could be doing.