|How Forgiveness Changes a Person
||Forgiveness is often prescribed as a remedy for healing from a traumatic event. This is a very effective tool in bringing closure. The offended person can regain control over a trauma by choosing a forgiving response instead of remaining a victim. In many ways this … ...
|How to Recover from Failure
||You create a presentation that does not go well. You launch a product that only 10 people buy. Your relationship is over. You don’t get the promotion or new job you really wanted. You get fired. You do something else, and feel like you’ve fallen … ...
|People Eat Fewer Calories After A Straightforward Change To Home Environment
||This straightforward change to the household environment can help people eat fewer calories.
|Why Working Longer Won’t Make You More Productive
||I don’t know anyone who has worked for a traditional business and hasn’t run up against our cultural notion of what journalist Brigid Schulte calls “the ideal worker”—the perfect employee who, without the distractions of children or family or, well, life, can work as many hours as the employer needs.
Ideal workers don’t have hobbies—or even interests—that interfere with work, and they have someone else (usually a wife) to stay home with sick children, schedule carpools, and find decent child care. Babies aren’t their responsibility, so parental leave when an infant is born isn’t an issue; someone else will do that. The ideal worker can jump on a plane and leave town anytime for business because someone else is doing the school pickups, making dinner, and putting the children to bed.
In terms of sheer number of hours on the job, most working parents can’t compete with these ideal workers. Still, it’s easy for us Americans to aspire to the archetype. But our fixation on the ideal worker can lead us to hone only one strength: the ability to work long hours.
Unfortunately, honing that one strength won’t get us very far. Why? The ideal worker is not necessarily ideal. Reams of research suggest that people who work long hours, to the detriment of their personal lives, are not more productive or successful than people who work shorter hours so they can have families and develop interests outside of work.
So why do we continue to believe that the longer and harder we work, the better we’ll be?
The ideal worker archetype was born more than 200 years ago during the Industrial Revolution. The rise of the factory system in the late 18th century marked the first time that a clock was used to synchronize labor. Once hours worked could be quantified financially, that created a new perception of time, one that saw the amount of time on the job as equivalent to a worker’s productivity.
This notion of work (and time) is particularly problematic today when we factor in all the fancy technology we have. You know, the stuff that lets us work ALL THE TIME. We can check our email before breakfast (and while we wait in line for our lattes), and make calls during our commute. Most of us can keep working straight through lunch while we eat—how wonderfully productive is that? And after dinner, we can log back in and KEEP WORKING when our grandparents back in the day might have been, say, conversing with a neighbor or spouse or child. Or perhaps reading a book. For pleasure.
The truth is super hard for us to hear: Overwork does not make us more productive or successful. For most of the 20th century, the broad consensus (among the management gurus) was that “working more than 40 hours a week was stupid, wasteful, dangerous, and expensive—and the most telling sign of dangerously incompetent management to boot,” writes Sara Robinson, a consultant at Cognitive Policy Works who specializes in trend analysis, futures research, and social change theories.
Moreover, according to Robinson, more than a HUNDRED YEARS of research shows that “every hour you work over 40 hours a week [will make] you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul.” Really! Even for knowledge workers!
Why? The human brain did not evolve to operate like a computer that gets switched on and can run indefinitely without a break. Just as a fruit tree does not bear fruit 365 days a year, human beings are only productive in cycles of work and rest.
So if we are to be our most productive, successful, and joyful selves, we must create a new cultural archetype for the ideal worker. One that is based on the biology we actually have, and the way that we actually are able to work. That is exactly what I aim to do in a series of upcoming posts.
This idea will be threatening to the people around you who still strive to be ideal workers. But sticking with the status quo—a life of unrelenting work—will break your heart slowly, as one of my clients so aptly put it. True happiness and fulfillment, it turns out, are not found in the unyielding pursuit of an impossible ideal.
To develop our multiple talents, we must stray from the herd of our cultural archetypes. This can be terrifying and disorienting—after all, humans are deeply social animals, so our nervous system sends distress signals when we break from our group. But we will not find our groove by conforming to unrealistic ideals or outdated stereotypes. We’ll find it by allowing ourselves to be complex and divergent—our most authentic, balanced selves.
|Better Sleep Habits Connected To These Everyday Kinds of Exercise
||429,110 adults were asked about 10 types of activities and how much sleep they typically got each night.
|Psychotherapy: More Than Just Words
||The field of psychotherapy presents a bewildering spectacle. Millions of persons suffering from a vast array of symptoms and disabilities turn for relief to thousands of practitioners. These practitioners represent … ...
|6 Intriguing Ways To Improve Your Memory And Thinking Skills
||New memory studies reveal the key to permanent recall, habits that damage memory and how to improve your memory.
|Difficult grammar affects music experience
||Reading and listening to music at the same time affects how you hear the music.
|Newly identified syndrome causes obesity, intellectual disability
||Genetic scientists have discovered a new genetic syndrome of obesity, over-eating, mental and behavioral problems in six families, from across the world. The researchers used zebrafish models to study the consequences of chromosome 6 deletion and showed that the deletion has an effect on specific cells in the hypothalamus that produce a hormone called oxytocin.
|'Schizophrenia' does not exist, argues expert
||The term 'schizophrenia,' with its connotation of hopeless chronic brain disease, should be dropped and replaced with something like 'psychosis spectrum syndrome,' argues a professor of psychiatry.
|Do We Love Violence? – Reflections on the Pro Bowl
||This past Sunday represented a lull for most football fans: the first Sunday since Labor Day without a football game. Truth be told, there was a football game, just not … ...
|Today I Love This Promising Day
||Today I love this promising day that threatens to be gloomy and wet, that is starting out warm but is guaranteed to turn chilly, that is just another February day, … ...
|The First Cartoon of Love Month!
||Last week’s cartoon had (almost) 3 rules to follow in dating. Some of them are harder than others. For any cartoon you enjoy, you’re invited to share it anyplace except … ...
|The First Cartoon of Love Month…a Vinegar Valentine!
||EDITED: new fun link added. Last week’s cartoon had (almost) 3 rules to follow in dating. Some of them are harder than others. For any cartoon you enjoy, you’re invited … ...
|Teenage Drug Addiction
|| As prevalent as drug addiction is in our society, the most troublesome part is teenage drug addiction. Our children are being exposed to dangerous drugs at younger and younger … ...
|Stress Management Tips for Students
||Students are one of the most common victims of stress. Factors such as financial expenses, overcommitment, family expectations, deadlines and workload all induce stress in students. While a mild amount of stress is very useful and acts as a motivation for students, too much stress … ...
|The Evolution Of ADHD
||There have been many theories about where ADHD came from and what it is. But they remain theories. One of my favorites is that ADHD was the way we were … ...
|Coming Out Mad on a Medical Model Unit
||`Coming out Mad,’ as a professional with a marriage and family therapy license has been a rocky journey over uncharted and lawless terrain. I share my experience to help embolden others who have experienced trauma, stigma and institutionalization to do the same. I believe the … ...
|Looking For a Higher Power In Recovery?
||Looking for a higher power in recovery? How about skillpower? Skillpower, as I see it, is a higher power than, say, willpower. A mind that whiteknuckles itself (through willpower) handicaps … ...
|Addiction To Studying
||There is little research and no generally accepted definition of study addiction but such behaviour has been conceptualized within research into workaholism. Find out more...