Why Working Less Leads to Getting More Done

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

nap sleep (Brittney Bush/flickr)

On average, Americans leave more than nine vacation days unused per year. More than a third of American workers regularly eat lunch at their desks, and more than half plan on doing work while they're on vacation. But Tony Schwartz, author of "Be Excellent at Anything" says we're doing it all wrong — and that the trick to getting more out of work is to do less.

Schwartz believes that managers and supervisors need to fundamentally rethink their investments in their employees. "It’s far better to invest in meeting their needs," he explains, "one of the most fundamental of which is intermittent renewal — providing the support for employees to take breaks; setting defined email hours, beyond which you don’t have to respond; limiting the length of meetings; providing the kind of food that is restorative…” In addition to contributing to a workplace environment that is more liveable and sustainable, these investments set the stage for greater all around productivity.

Schwartz concedes, though, that there are other notable distractions in the modern workplace, particularly technology devices like smart phones. These devices distract us and divide our attention to an addictive degree, and they also make us less fulfilled in life. "Controlling your attention is the 'sine qua non' of a good life. It's what allows you to be doing the things that you’ve deemed to be important and bring the richest of who you are to those tasks," notes Schwartz.

According to him, "more, bigger, faster is no longer better." It's a truth that many Americans may find hard to swallow.


Tony Schwartz

Produced by:

Jen Poyant and Mythili Rao

Comments [2]

John A

Actually waay on-point to this segment is that today is the start of Lent. Take 40 days to detox and meditate and give up the stressful things. Do it!

Feb. 13 2013 03:44 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn,

My birthstone was grind...Grindstone... Ironically, the first thing I turn on to start my day is The Takeaway. Should I change that habit?

Feb. 13 2013 12:03 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.