Smell the roses

Last year, The Guardian published an article on Why the secret to productivity isn’t long hours – featuring an interview with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a consultant and visiting scholar at Stanford.

The premise of the article will be familiar to all of us – you don’t have to kill yourself working long hours to get everything done. That’s easy for consultants to say, the ones who write books and teach at university, but what about the rest of us in hectic, highly charged political organizations that constantly compete to stay ahead? How do you tell a group that’s leading a transformation program to cut their work hours by 20% or pull a four day week?

In principle, Alex’s ideas are excellent and his insights are useful. The article brings home some core views on improving how we work and how we look at productivity. That said, not everyone has the same set of work scenarios and needs to adapt differently. The main takeaway is that there is significant value in slowing down, taking a walk, detaching from anything that needs to be charged – even for a few minutes each day at various intervals.

The reality for all of us is that we need to make time to recharge. Think about what you can do in your situation to make it possible.


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