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11.5 Just the Right Amount of Work best for Vitality

A. Too much Work attacks Vitality

Writer: “Which Action or Actions replaced the Healthy and Creative Actions in the valley of the mid 80’s? The first Action that we shall explore, in this context is Management.”

Experimenter: “Our Subject took it upon himself to ‘Manage’ a restaurant in the mid-1980s. He had been working casually as a Controller of the same restaurant since 1981. As the restaurant began having more and more difficulties, our Subject gave notice as a Waiter and went to a new restaurant. In addition to Waiting tables, he also picked up some more Controlling duties. However due to personal difficulties with the manager of the new restaurant, he returned to his original restaurant. Inspired by this return, he became manager of this dying establishment. He was the Waiter/manager of this restaurant for one full year until it closed its doors. He continued working as the Controller of the new restaurant until 1989 when his job was discontinued. This was his last experience as Manager except for a brief one month foray in February of 2000.”

Scientist: “While our Subject was a restaurant Controller from 1981 thru 1989, he only managed a restaurant for one of these years, between 1984 and 1985. Below is the graph of this time commitment added to the Creative 3 and the Healthy 3.

Experimenter: “Again it is visually apparent that Managing killed the Creative and damped the Healthy. What do the figures say?”

Scientist: “They affirm the visuals, with some interesting implications. First, as we might suspect, Managing has a strong negative correlation with the Healthy 3, -51%.”

Management fights the Healthy 3

Experimenter: “The scatter plot reflects the intuitive conclusions of the Time graph. The relation seems fairly linear between the two Data Streams. As the amount of Management Time increases the amount of Healthy Time drops, almost in a linear fashion. Every extra hour of management takes a little more than a half an hour away from the Healthy 3.”

Management also fights the Creative 3

Experimenter: “In many ways Management has a more extreme relation with the Creative 3. Let us look carefully at the Scatter Plot below.”

Scientist: “When Management time is under one hour per day per month Creativity seems to flourish. This is when our Subject was just working as a Controller. However when Management Time is over an hour and a half a day per month, Creative Time evaporates entirely.”

Interviewer: “An hour and a half a day is only 10 hours per week. That is not really that much time.”

Work conflicts with the Creative

Experimenter: “Our Subject worked as a Waiter while he managed so that he could also collect tips. Thus the Management Time should be added to the Waiting Time to get a proper perspective on the impact this had on the Subject’s Life. We will call this new Data Stream Work. As one might suspect Work is the sum of the Waiting and Managing Data Streams.”

Scientist: “This composite Data Stream, i.e. Work, has a -46% Correlation with the Creative 3, but its negative impact is even greater as shown by the Scatter Plot below.”

Experimenter: “Let us translate this graph into some weekly numbers so that we can get a familiar perspective by comparing it to a 40 hour week. Basically any time my Subject worked more than 5.5 hours per day Ň 40 hours per week per month, his Creative Time shrank to zero. From about 2.5 to 5.5 hours per day Ň 18 to 40 hours per week per month, the relation was fairly linear and negative. Creative Time rose to as high as 5 hours a day when Work was at 2.5 hours per day and then fell to zero when work was high. For every extra hour of Work a half an hour of Creativity was lost.”

B. Too little Work also bad for Vitality

Scientist: “However notice that when Work is less than 2.5 hours per day that the Creative Time shrinks rather than rises.”

Experimenter: “This connects up with an early experiment, which showed the same thing.”

Interviewer: “Explain.”

Experimenter: “As I mentioned my only goal is to increase Creative Time for my Subject. Thinking mechanically rather than holistically, I assumed that reducing time spent on Sleeping and Work would naturally increase Creative Time. As we have already demonstrated, this was certainly not true with Sleep. Counter to intuitive Sleep seemed to be slightly positively correlated with the Creative rather than negatively as surmised.

            In a similar way, I felt that Work was getting in the way of my Creative Time. I even toyed with the idea of have my Person quit his job in order to maximize this Creative Time - the dream of every Artist - to support themselves on their Art. But alas it was not to be. Further Experimental results showed otherwise.

Scientist: “The results are written up in the first Notebook called the Spiral Nature of Time.”

Experimenter: “I will summarize the results. My Subject tends to work less in January than in other months because of seasonal fluctuations in business. I wanted to see what happened to my Person creatively when he didn’t have to work as much. In 1994 I instructed my Scientist to look at and analyze the Data from the series of four years from 1991 to 1994, in terms of Creative output.

Scientist: “The results were counter intuitive, our Subject’s Creative Time actually fell substantially during these months with a subsequent rise in Talking, Viewing, Bookkeeping and Reading, In short our Subject took advantage of ‘not-Working’ to do all those things he had been ‘putting off’ because of Work. Unfortunately these Actions ‘bled’ into Creative Time, reducing artistic productivity.”

Experimenter: “My main purpose was to motivate my Subject to Create. These results cured me of any desire that I might have had to encourage my Subject to quit his job. From these results I concluded that my Subject needed to work a minimum amount of hours to keep these extraneous activities under control and maximize his Creative output.”

Scientist: “Our most recent results confirm the results of 1994. With this greater perspective from 2002, let us analyze the Scatter Plot above. When our Subject worked between 2.5 to 3 hours per day, his Creative Time averaged between 2 to 3 hours per day. As he worked more and more his hourly output dropped in a linear fashion. When he reached 5 hours per day, his Creative Time dropped to 0 hours per day. However when my Subject worked less than 2.5 hours per day his Creative Output dropped dramatically.”

Experimenter: “In summary our subject’s ‘sweet spot’ in terms of maximizing Creative output in terms of Working is about 20 hours per week. In engineering the ‘sweet spot’ is the ‘knee of the curve’, which maximizes the relation of two variables. More than 20 hours per week starts cutting into Creative Time while less than 20 hours per week allows extraneous actions to grow out of control, absorbing the Creative Time.”

Work conflicts with the Healthy

Scientist: “As we might imagine Work also conflicts with Healthy Time. There is a -54% Correlation between the Healthy 3 and Work over the 25 years of the Experiment. Below is the Scatter Plot of the relation.”

Experimenter: “While the overall Correlation between Health and Work is decidedly negative, the reduction of Work Time below 2.5 hours actually reduces the amount of time spent on Healthy activities, in a similar way that it did with Creative Time.”

Scientist: “This actually makes sense from the vacation stand point. When one takes off from work, one imagines oneself on vacation and so relaxes from all productivity. Conversely when one goes back to work, one gets back to work on all one’s projects.”

Experimenter: “The question would be whether the Subject if given unlimited time would go on permanent vacation, or would he resume productivity naturally at a certain point.”

Scientist: “Also there is an idea that the tension of Work might actually inspire Creativity, while the relaxed notion of ‘not-Work’ might release this tension.”

Experimenter: “All these discussions are moot because I decided that my Subject probably did not have the necessary discipline to come ‘off vacation’ and so needed to Work to inspire his Creativity.”

Work conflicts with Vitality

Scientist: “Work has an even higher negative correlation, -57%, with the combination of the Healthy and the Creative, which we will call the Vitality Data Stream for ease of reference. A scatter plot of their relation is shown below. Let us spend some time on this graph because the Correlation is so high and because so many Actions are connected up, a total of 8.”

Scientist: “It is obvious from the graph that the correlation between the two Data Streams is high and negative. Further this graph reveals the same mechanism as the previous graphs, i.e. under 2 hours of Work a day and the Vitality Data Stream falls rather than rises; the Healthy and the Creative fall if there is not enough Work because of a vacation mentality.”

Experimenter: “That’s all I need to know. If I convince my Subject to continue to Work, while working less he will have more time for Creative and Healthful activities.”

Scientist: “This is certainly true within certain parameters. It is certainly seems to be true on the upper end. When our Subject worked over 40 to 50 per week as a Waiter/Manager, his Creative Time disappeared entirely while his Healthful Time was reduced in a linear fashion. While Healthy Time was just reduced proportionately to Work Time, Creative Time was obliterated above a certain level.”

Experimenter: “The obvious conclusion is that too much work kills the Creative urge. The converse statement might be that Free Time, i.e. discretionary time, is necessary for the Creative to flourish.”

Scientist: “Before leaving this topic I think it might be instructive to see an area graph of the Actions over time.”

Experimenter: “There are a few items to note. First from 1976 to 1984 Work was high, between 4 to 5 hours a day, and the Vitality Stream was lower, between 2 to 3 hours a day. From about 1990 onwards Work has been lower, between 3 and 4 hours a day, and Vitality higher, between 4 to 5 hours a day. The relation between Vitality and Work has almost reversed itself from the beginning to the end of the graph.”

Scientist: “Remember that the Vitality Stream is the sum of the Creative 3 and the Healthy 3 and that Work is the sum of Managing and Waiting tables.”

Experimenter: “A second point to note is that the Management of 1984-85, with Work rising above 7 hours a day, almost killed the Vitality Stream altogether. The third point to note is that while Management Time fell rather quickly after 1985 that the Vitality Time took a while to recover and then grow. This had most likely to do with Kid Time, which we will examine in the next section.”

Scientist: “A fourth point to note is that whenever Work is low, represented by the downward spikes on the graph, that the Vitality Stream does not step up to fill the gap but instead shrinks. We called this the Vacation phenomenon, which is well documented visually by this graph. The extreme downward drop of the top line is almost always associated with a simultaneous drop in Work and in Vitality. Thus while in most of the months Vitality and Work are extremely negatively correlated, with there being a near exact one to one tradeoff between the two, that in the months when Work drops substantially Vitality is positively correlated and drops also.”

Experimenter: “My simple conclusion from all this is to get my Subject to Work less, but not stop, if I want to increase his Creative output.”


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