As North Americans we pride ourselves on things like production, efficiency and our work ethic in general. It's part of life blood if you will.
MAYBE WE NEED TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES THOUGH - FOR REAL
The simple truth of the matter, however, is that most of us should slow down a bit and step back and smell the roses. Too many hours staring at a computer screen or working a production line can actually result in lower yield and quality.
In fact, the same could be said for practically any line of work.
What is needed is a better balance between how much energy and time we devote to work in relation to how much energy and time we devote to our families and more importantly to ourselves.
According to Cary L. Cooper, author of “Wellbeing, Productivity, and Happiness at Work”, although the US considers itself to be one of the most progressive nations in the world, American workers work longer hours than any other country.
Furthermore, we are among last in line when it comes to the amount of paid vacation leave we accrue.
U.K. companies, in comparison, typically allow their employees between four and six weeks of paid vacation time a year.
Pretty crazy if you think about it....
ARE YOU A WORKAHOLIC LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?
Cooper writes “Americans are intrinsically ‘workaholic.’ Getting ahead at work is fundamental to their self-image, and to the image they like to project to their employer, and, indeed, to the outside world”.
This is not just individual behavior, however, it is what Cooper calls “corporate culture”. It is expected that the American worker not just give 100% but 200%., that they arrive to work early and they leave late.
Vacations are perceived as mere distractions and employees are expected to be on-call even during their paid holidays.
DID YOU KNOW TAKING A BREAK ACTUALLY IMPROVES PERFORMANCE YOU KNOW
Despite the common misperception among Americans and their employers, breaks actually improve performance.
This has been proven again and again in the scientific literature. Robinson reports “performance increases after breaks of all durations: from extended vacations down to microbreaks of 30 seconds.” Furthermore, our ability to self-regulate, to keep focused on the task at hand, “wanes with each exercise of self-control during the day. It's a loss of resources that must be replenished, or it becomes harder to stay on-task, be attentive and solve problems.”
TO MAKE BIG GAINS, SOME TIMES YOU HAVE TO SLOW DOWN
I think a lot of us really do need to slow down at times.
Take some time off work, real time off work, time where you don’t answer calls and check emails.
REMEMBER: Your health and your work productivity will both benefit.
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