Test Yourself: Accomplish More By Doing Less

More frequently than not, I have more to do than time to get it all done. I know I’m not alone. I noticed over the years I developed techniques to relax my over-active brain in order to prioritize and tackle the next item in my long list of t0-dos. Walking to and from work to unwind or, even, cleaning my work area, were techniques that just happened to work, but it turns out, scientific research suggests there is much more to these mind-clearing tricks than I considered. I stumbled across an article in the New York Times by Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, which helps individuals, and organizations perform more sustainably. He believes the best way to get more done may be by spending more time doing less. Schwartz argues that “strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.” Restoration is key.

Here are a few tips I added to my personal arsenal of restoration tactics and I recommend trying these out for yourself.

  1. Work in 90-minute intervals – Research shows the prescription for maximizing productivity is to work in 90-minute, uninterrupted intervals. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his team studied elite performers in a variety of fields. Their research found the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.
  2. No, really, take your vacation – News alert: working during vacation, isn’t actually vacation. Ernst & Young did a study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. The study also found that frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.
  3. Test yourself - Schwartz created a great (free) online assessment tool he called Are You Headed for an Energy Crisis. There are 16 questions so it should take more than five minutes to complete the assessment. I took it myself and I highly recommend it – the assessment results provide recommended resources and strategies to improve your mind, emotions, body, and spirit.

We weren’t designed to expend energy continuously. If only we restructure our daily habits and regularly hit the personal “refresh button,” a thriving, productive and energetic lifestyle is in reach. So, I try these tips out for yourself, take a rest, rejuvenate – you will get more done.