Chill! You'll Get Way More Done

Human-energy expert urges us to relax and get some sleep

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 10, 2013 3:47 PM CST

(Newser) – Wake up tired, scroll through email, wolf down whatever, rush to work, and scramble to keep up—and that's just your morning. Sound familiar? A man who has built a business around telling people to relax makes his case in the New York Times: "Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less," writes Tony Schwartz, founder of The Energy Project. While Americans are working overtime, skipping vacations, and eating at their desks, Schwartz rolls out studies showing that more sleep and time off dramatically improve productivity.

One study found that lack of sleep costs US companies $63.2 billion annually; others that short naps sharpen the mind and long naps improve memory as well as eight hours' sleep. More fascinating is the notion that people shift from alertness to fatigue about every 90 minutes, so you can relax or exercise during "down" periods. In fact, the most productive workers toil for a maximum of 4.5 hours per day. "Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable," writes Schwartz. The only problem: "Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us." Click for his full article.

A very stressed individual.   (Shutterstock)
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