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The Power of Renewal

Ever heard the expression “quality over quantity”? In some way or another, regardless of the situation, most of us have probably agreed with this. What’s the point of doing a lot with little return if you can do less with more return? 

Now, apply this thought to your everyday life.

As a society, many of us spend our days racing around from meeting to meeting, constantly checking our email, or thinking of the next thing we have to do on our endless check list. According to researchers, 1/3 of employees eat lunch at their desks, 50% of employees do work on their vacations, and, in 2012, employees averaged 9.2 unused vacation days/year. Even with this nonstop approach, we still often feel that we have not achieved everything that we have wanted to, and the stress caries into the days following. Although we may feel like this is the only approach to our busy lives, we may have it completely backwards.

According to Tony Schwartz, “paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less.” 

This means relaxing…..really relaxing.

Recent research has indicated that, just like how we sleep, our waking selves work in 90 minute intervals. Ever felt a lag throughout your day? This is most likely your body telling you that your 90 minutes is up and it’s time to recharge your battery. This can be done by having quiet time, exercising, or napping… but the key is to actually relax. This means actively clearing your mind from everything that it is normally crowded with. 

The issues begin when, instead of listening to our bodies during these periods, we decide to counter the fatigue we feel with other sources such as caffeine or an influx of stress hormones (epinephrine, adrenaline, etc.) We tend to applaud those who work the hardest and longest hours, when in reality they are most likely much less productive. 

Other ways to restore our mental and physical health are to A. get more sleep and B. take more vacations. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation alone costs American companies $63.2 billion per year in lost productivity. So, workplaces should not only adjust hours for more sleep, but should also allot more vacation days (and we should take every single one!) According to Schwartz, his workplace consists of a “renewal room,” daily lunch outings, working from home a few days per week, no work after 6 PM, and 4 weeks vacation/year. Not only are his employees significantly more productive throughout the day, but most importantly, they are happier and healthier.

All in all, research has concluded that those who take regular breaks have increased performance, productivity, and overall health. So, if your dream is to get more done in less time, this may be a solution for you. 

Take a break, relaxing is efficient! Check out more at: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/relax-youll-be-more-productive.html

Stephanie Spoto, CSCS

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