Be More Productive by Doing Less
The Internet and all of its exciting applications and features have brought on incredible opportunities for people to connect with each other overseas in an instant, store and manipulate data with precision, and market their businesses like never before.
The result of all this opportunity is that now most of the jobs take place at a desk, with little to no physical activity required. Without the role of moderate physical labor at the workplace, employers are seeing little value in having their workers taking breaks to refresh.
Yet while mental energy cannot be quantifiably measured, a recent study by Cornell University suggests that spending less of it can lead to more business productivity at the workplace.
Find out for yourself how doing less can actually lead you to do more – way more:
The Internet’s dominance in our society cultivates a world of business that relies on fast-paced distribution of information and real-time response rates. Such an environment has business professionals obsessed with productivity in the workplace and shortcut solutions on how to increase it.
Despite our obsession, most of us in the business world have the wrong idea on how to approach increasing productivity.
The solution to increasing business productivity may be simpler than we realize.
In Physics, we know that Energy is defined as the ability to do work. We also know that to accomplish work, we need both time and energy.
Time and energy are finite; but unlike time, energy is a renewable source. That is why we need to invest in practices that renew our energy, if we want to better our business productivity.
Despite popular belief, gluing ourselves harder to our work is not the answer to being more efficient in getting it done.
To be more efficient and productive in our workday, we need to gain more energy by spending less of it. Businesses can benefit from this as a solution by investing in “tactical revitalization” for all of their employees.
It can mean substantial and periodic breaks throughout the workday or a long, refreshing vacation. Whatever practices that allow your mind reboot and re-energize will lead you to be much more productive than doing diluted, constant work.
Often when we are working hard at our daily tasks and find ourselves hitting a wall, our inclination is to grit our teeth and force our willpower onward.
This is a problem defined as “Ego depletion,” where instead of taking a moment to revitalize when we’re slowing down, we tell ourselves to try harder.
Many companies place this guilt on employees for not being productive enough, while simultaneously frowning upon workers that occasionally take twenty minutes breaks from their work to become sidetracked by checking their social media accounts or browsing the web for leisure. In actuality though, willpower isn’t something that can be increased with a little elbow grease; you need to rest your brain from its hard work to renew its motivation to keep performing.
According to a 1999 Cornell University study on business productivity, employees that work computer jobs benefit from computer software that periodically alerts them to engage in forms of tactical revitalization such as taking short breaks, stretching, and even straightening their posture.
The study was initially was intended to test the computer software’s affect workflow and injury risks associated with mouse and keyboard overuse. As a surprise, the results were that workers instructed to do a little less were actually getting a lot more done.
Cornell professor Alan Hedge conducted the study at big-time insurance company Wall Street office of New Century Global, which was very focused at the time on collecting employee data for the sake of improving office ergonomics.
After assessing the workflow of twenty-one employees for five weeks, half the group was randomly selected to use this off-the-shelf computer software that distributed on-screen notifications alerting employees to revitalize in ways and at times that corresponded with their individual work levels, thresholds, and assigned tasks.
At the end of the study, researchers discovered that employees who received the alerts “were 13% more accurate on average in their work than coworkers not reminded. Employees using the software were accomplishing more tasks, but that they were doing it with fewer keystrokes and less errors. In other words, doing less for the sake of doing more is the equivalent of working smarter, not harder.
Investing in tactical revitalization in the office does just that. Tactical revitalization benefits employee’s work ethic on an individual level as well as the company’s overall business productivity.
The Cornell University study shows that allowances for even small opportunities to rest leads to benefits of improved work efficiency as well as job performance.
Other studies on the affect of tactical revitalization in the workplace have found that the resulting boost in productivity also cultivates work habits that benefit workers’ health.
Just as marketing professionals are learning that earlier methods of digital marketing such as spamming emails and websites are outdated in the realm of social media, business professionals need to adapt to the modern workplace with relative investments in their employee’s ability to perform.
Today’s business world demands a higher level of productivity for success, and it is evident that this will not be achieved without a practical consideration of mental energy and the need for employers to ask for less in order to receive better, faster, and more output.
What’s your take on tactical revitalization? Do you take short breaks throughout the workday or have plans for a refreshing vacation? Leave a comment.
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