Written by Julie Silfverberg
Some years ago I was chatting to a friend who was working in France. He was telling me that there was no way he could leave the office before his boss, it just wasn’t the done thing. Needless to say I thought this was very interesting especially because he added that he really didn’t feel working this late was productive for him. So I asked “What would happen if you left before the boss?” he answered he didn’t know because nobody ever did. One of the things that particularly fascinated me was; at the time in France there was a 35 hour working week in place, supposedly.
Culture is a powerful force and one which is often times not even reckoned with or questioned. When
you are working in a culture – business or national – most of the time you don’t even notice it is there. Ask any fish does it notice the water, or ask any human do they notice the air!
I suspect there are a lot of people at the moment putting in very long hours thinking they are getting work done but the research shows taking adequate rest is equally important for efficiency.
Just look at any professional athlete – built into their training schedule are periods of rest. Although in some sports those have been a bit eroded over the past number of years – just look a the length of the rugby season these days – resulting in an increase in injuries and guys on the bench. The ‘injuries’ are not as evident in the business person because they are more insidious. The ‘injuries’ can take the form of reduced productivity, irritability, poor decision making and over the long haul is detrimental to health and well-being.
So ask yourself are you taking care to get enough down time and rest? Eight hours is still the recommended number of hours for sleep. I know there are lots of stories about people who survive on 5 hours as though it is something to be proud of, but the key word is survive. In my mind surviving is a struggle and thriving is the way to go. If you are not getting your 8 hours what steps are you going to take to boost your productivity by taking care of yourself?
Julie Silfverberg has worked in the field of personal and professional development for more than 20 years. She works with a diverse and exciting group of people. Each with their own unique talents and potential.