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The Power of Distraction

Dr. Foster Mobley // Business, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

In business, we treasure the stereotype of the grinder, the guy (or gal) who puts in the 14-hour days to get the job done. That's virtuous, we say. Sitting at your desk, mainlining coffee and not going home until the job is done is supposedly what makes millionaires and geniuses. People who can't stomach that sort of work style are labeled slackers or ADHD cases. But what if the slackers were actually the geniuses? New research from Florida State University reveals that people are actually at their most productive when they work in 90-minute intervals, take breaks, and typically work about four-and-a-half hours a day. That's heresy to your typical "push ‘em until they break" CEO, but who cares if it gets results? Part of wisdom is embracing what produces the greatest sustainable performance, whether or not it feels like something they would teach at the Wharton School. Maybe it's time we started encouraging "creative distraction" instead of "creative destruction." Encouraging people to work in the way that best suits their mind and temperament appears to work wonders. What value are you putting on rest and restoration?

In business, we treasure the stereotype of the grinder, the guy (or gal) who puts in the 14-hour days to get the job done. That's virtuous, we say. Sitting at your desk, mainlining coffee and not going home until the job is done is supposedly what makes millionaires and geniuses. People who can't stomach that sort of work style are labeled slackers or ADHD cases.

But what if the slackers were actually the geniuses?

New research from Florida State University reveals that people are actually at their most productive when they work in 90-minute intervals, take breaks, and typically work about four-and-a-half hours a day. That's heresy to your typical "push ‘em until they break" CEO, but who cares if it gets results? Part of wisdom is embracing what produces the greatest sustainable performance, whether or not it feels like something they would teach at the Wharton School.

Maybe it's time we started encouraging "creative distraction" instead of "creative destruction." Encouraging people to work in the way that best suits their mind and temperament appears to work wonders.

What value are you putting on rest and restoration?

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Dr. Foster Mobley

Trusted advisor and coach to admired executives globally for 3 decades, Thought leader on wisdom-based approaches to breakthrough leading, "Lead Coach" for Deloitte's experienced and high potential leader development, Team performance advisor to two NCAA championship teams