Friday, October 22, 2010

To Get More Done, Work Less

From CNN Money.

"Instead of working at full speed, we are at our best when we take breaks every 90 to 120 minutes, when our four basic needs (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) are met, and when we tackle one task at a time. Sounds simplistic, but the Project says its work is rooted in the "multidisciplinary science of high performance." Its founder, Tony Schwartz, has written a book based on these findings, The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance."


"Despite my doubts, I decided to take the Energy Project's teachings for a spin. After all, its productivity gurus have been hired at Google and Sony Pictures. So I forced myself to take a (real) break every hour and a half while working on this article. It wasn't easy, but after a while I stopped feeling guilty and found plenty of nonwork things to do -- calling a friend or reading a magazine. Though I ended up spending less time in front of my computer, I was faster and more efficient."

I wonder if anyone's done a study on the efficiency and productivity of countries with a "siesta" or "reposo" compared with our straight-8. In Italy, they have a "reposo" which means full-timers have a split shift: they work from 8-12 a.m., then go home for rest, meal, whatever (the whole town shuts down at 1:00 p.m.), and return to work at 4-8. Town reopens at 4:00. Even schools have this split-shift, and kids go on Saturdays as well. This allows for family time in the afternoons, but dinner is rather late--10:00. The biggest meal is served in the afternoons during reposo, and breakfast and dinner are light.

I'm sure Mexico has something similar. France just went from a 35-hour work week to a 40-hour work week--they headed the other way.

If people didn't work one job all day, then it would provide time for two part-time jobs. Still, I'd want to know productivity and efficiency numbers.


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