In a world of too much work and too much multitasking, the best way to beat the competition may be to do less.
By Anne Fisher, FORTUNE senior writer
Source: Be smarter at work, slack off
- With innovation now our main competitive strength, creativity is crucial for anyone who wants to move up. But it’s really, really hard, if not impossible, for the human brain to come up with fresh new ideas when its owner is overworked, overtired, and stressed out.
- “The physiological effects of tiredness are well-known. You can turn a smart person into an idiot just by overworking him,” notes Peter Capelli, a professor of management at Wharton.
- “The notion that busyness is the essence of business can only do us long-term harm,” writes consultant Tom DeMarco in a book called Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency.
- It’s not really news that so-called multitasking can actually make people less effective at their jobs. …The “time cost” of refocusing your attention may be only a few seconds with each switch, but the researchers found that, over time, it reduced people’s total efficiency by 20% to 40%.
- What scientists have only recently begun to realize is that people may do their best thinking when they are not concentrating on work at all. … The unconscious mind is a terrific solver of complex problems when the conscious mind is busy elsewhere or, perhaps better yet, not overtaxed at all.
So here’s the objection: as small business people, we can’t do less because we have to do it all or it won’t get done! With no magic solution in sight, we will talk in the coming days about focus, income producing activities, prioritizing, and creative ways to delegate. We’d love to have your suggestions, too!
- About the Author
- Latest by this Author
Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.