The Origin of the 8-Hour Work Day and Why We Should Rethink It

One of the most unchanged elements of our life today is our optimal work time or how long we should work – generally, every person I’ve spoken to quotes me something close to 8 hours a day.

And data seems to confirm that: The average American works 8.8 hours every day. At least, those are the official statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

average work time - optimal work time

And yet, for most of us it is obvious that knowing how long the average person works every day has little to do with how efficient or productive that pattern is. At least, that is what I personally found for my own productivity. So what’s the the right hourly rate?

With success stories from people working 4 hours a week, to 16 hours a day, it’s hard to know if there is an optimal amount. So instead of going with my gut, which often fails me, I thought of looking into actual research on work time and how to optimize it for your happiness and success.

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How to Share Your Tweets at Optimal Times: Followerwonk and Buffer Team Up

Ever since I’ve started blogging about topics on social media and especially Twitter, one of the questions that I have by far heard the most often is the following:

“When is the best time to Tweet for me to reach more followers?”

A lot of this requires a lot of data-analysis and whilst a ton of tools exist out there, they aren’t always terribly accurate. That’s why we’ve come up with this:

best time to tweet, optimal time to tweet

We couldn’t be any more excited to have teamed up with the folks from Followerwonk, an amazing Twitter analytics tool, to deliver the best times to Tweet for you. And from there, you can easily export your optimal Tweeting times straight into Buffer.

All that’s left thereafter is for you to find great article, links and more, add it to your Buffer and you are good to share at the best times to reach most of your audience.

Let’s dig in and see how we can get you all setup.

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Social Media in 2013: User Demographics For Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

social media demographics in 2013Out of all internet users 67% are using social networks. And which kind of demographic uses which social network has been forever interesting for marketers. Some of the latest insights from Pew Research centers reveals the latest stats.

Twitter is still used more than Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Also, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to use Twitter than Whites, according to the study.

Most of the findings are in line with what you might expect and some are truly surprising. For example, people living in cities spend the most time on Social Media, at 70% of the population. And women, on average, spend 9% more time on social networking sites than men.

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Why Facebook Is Blue: The Science of Colors in Marketing

Why is Facebook blue? According to The New Yorker, the reason is simple. It’s because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind. This means that blue is the color Mark can see the best. In his own words Zuck says:

“Blue is the richest color for me; I can see all of blue.”

Not highly scientific right? Well, although in the case of Facebook, that isn’t the case, there are some amazing examples of how colors actually affect our purchasing decisions.

After all, the visual sense is the strongest developed one in most human beings. It’s only natural that 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by color alone.

So how do colors really affect us and what is the science of colors in marketing really? As we are also trying to make lots of improvements to our product at Buffer, this was a key part to learn more about. Let’s dig into some of the latest, most interesting research on it.

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10 of the Most Controversial Productivity Tips That Actually Work

controversial productivity tipsWe’ve all heard what makes us more productive. To be more productive, get: Better sleep, better food, better work environment, etc. And I think these tips are amazing and a great focus to have. Heck, we even wrote about most of these and the science behind it here on the Buffer blog.

And yet, today, I thought of changing it up dramatically. It goes nicely with Tim Ferriss’ moto:

“To do the impossible, you need to ignore the popular.”

So with this article, I tried to really step aside from the popular and look for the counter-intuitive. Of course, it’s all backed by the latest and most reputable studies.

Let’s dig and find out some of the most controversial things you could do today to boost your creativity, happiness and productivity:

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The Secrets of Body Language: Why You Should Never Cross Your Arms Again

Body language is older and more innate for us as humans than even language or facial expressions. That’s why people born blind can perform the same body language expressions as people who can see. They come pre-programmed with our brains.

I’ve always been incredibly fascinated with body language and how it helps us achieve our goals in life. The power of body language is probably best described by Amy Cuddy’s famous quote:

“Our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us.”

If you are anything like me, then you’ve had a healthy obsession with body language for some time. In recent years, a few fascinating studies at Harvard, Princeton and other top universities shed new light on body language and how to use it at work. So whilst the power of language is extremely important to convey the right message. The power of body language however, might be the determining factor of how someone makes us feel.

Here is an insight into some of the latest studies on how we can use body language to our advantage in every day life.

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5 Essential Social Media Metrics to Track and How to Improve Them

social media metrics“I like to go with my gut!” is something I’ve told myself many times in the past. “Yes, all those other people need to track their social media metrics, I don’t, I’ve got a good intuition.” That was probably one of my biggest mistakes for a long time.

Tracking things all the time and developing a data-driven mindset is one of the most important things I’ve learnt in the past 2 years. And there is still a long way to go.

Here are some of the social media metrics worth your time and what I’ve discovered by analyzing each of them for Buffer.


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7 Simple Productivity Tips You Can Apply Today, Backed by Science

simple productivity tipsIn case you haven’t noticed, we’ve started to cover a lot of heavily scientific articles recently here on the Buffer blog. And judging by the spread of them, they have been really well received.

One thing struck me though. What about simple things we can do? A friend recently told me she has added a 20 minute window in her day where she tries to go for the “quick wins”.

I thought that’s a brilliant idea! So I went ahead and looked up 7 simple things all of us can do today to get more productive, happier and successful. Of course, all backed up by science! So here 7 simple productivity tips you can put in place today:

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The Science of Smiling: A Guide to The World’s Most Powerful Gesture

mona lisaWhy did the Mona Lisa become one of the most famous paintings of all time? That’s a question an incredible amount of people have asked themselves in the past. And one possible answer is this: because of her unique smile.

The smile is is the “the symbol that was rated with the highest positive emotional content” concludes scientist Andrew Newberg. And for me personally, I’ve been very reluctant before embracing smiling. Only a few years back, when one of my teachers told me: “Why don’t you smile more? Go learn how to do it!”, I started to research learn about the actual power of smiling.

I had a brief moment of disbelief that anyone can learn how to smile better. And yet, since then, for many years, I practiced smiling in the mirror and on many other occasions. That’s a fact I’ve often been a little embarrassed to admit, yet the research of this post confirms how powerful practicing a bit of smiling can be.

After recently discussing which words matter the most when we talk, digging into the facts of smiling was one of the most mentioned suggestions. So here we go:

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What Bad Customer Service Costs Your Business [Infographic]

bad customer service“You can’t improve what you don’t measure,” goes one of the most famous quotes in business.

And this line has also been one of the biggest problems in doing great customer service.

“But you can’t measure it!” is the response I receive from a lot of budding entrepreneurs when it comes to chatting about customer support.

And to be honest, it is tough to measure it. Yet the reason we place such huge importance on customer support as we develop Buffer’s social media management suite is altogether for a different reason. It’s to make people feel great, because this law exists:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Customer support is the very rare opportunity to connect to your customers on an emotional level. You can’t do that in any other way.

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