Busy people in general apply a simple formula: invest extra hours to get more work done. However I think there is a flawed assumption here: that the quantity of work accomplished grows linearly with the amount of time invested. Besides that, I also believe that in general there is a decrease in the quality of work done in these extra hours.
I’ve witnessed several times people forcing themselves to work additional hours when clearly they were not being productive anymore. I also observed tired people making terrible mistakes or making very bad decisions. The time required to fix these mistakes can actually eliminate any benefit obtained from working extra hours.
In my opinion people should focus on Energy instead of Time. We should ask ourselves: do I have the right energy level to produce this work? And if not, how can I obtain more energy, so that I will be able to produce the best possible work in my available time?
I don’t intend to prescribe here any formula on how people can get more energized. I think this is a very personal question, and each individual needs to find his/her own ways to obtain the energy they need to produce their work. I believe that following this approach people can be more productive while avoiding any need to work extra hours.