We’ve often heard that time is money, but in these stressed-out days it’s more than that. Time is increasingly a key to well-being, creatively and emotionally.
My sister, Juliet, has taken the time — a lot of it in recent years — to study the topic and has written a book with her insight and advice, called “A Minute to Think.”
The problem is real. She cites a Gallup poll showing that 23 percent of workers feel burnt out more often than not, with another 44 percent experiencing it occasionally. Deloitte, the global professional services company, found that two-thirds of today’s employees feel “overwhelmed” and 80 percent of men would like to work fewer hours.
In Japan, Microsoft conducted a study and found that a four-day work week resulted in 40 percent more productivity and, as a bonus, overhead dropped by nearly 25 percent. Juliet’s conclusion: “Less can be the new more if we give it a chance.”
Research shows that by putting more pauses in our day — “white space,” as Juliet refers to these breaks — thinking improves. I was surprised to read that MRI scans during a person’s quiet pauses show complex activity in the default neural network of the brain — activity that has been linked to insight, introspection, memory and creativity.
As with every form of self-improvement — diet, exercise and such — improving our time management is no easy task. Moreover, no matter how comprehensive, no book can provide guaranteed instructions for saving ourselves by saving time. But with compelling anecdotes and eye-opening data, “A Minute to Think” could help clear mental clutter.
Juliet suggests addressing four questions. Is there anything I can let go of? Where is “good enough,” good enough? What do I truly need to know? What deserves my attention?
I’ve heard it said that if you want something done you should ask a busy person. The point, of course, isn’t that such people have more time than the rest of us, but that they know how to make better use of their time.
Back in 1929 Coca-Cola came up with the tag line, “The pause that refreshes.” Today we've learned to eschew sugary drinks, but we could all benefit from a refreshing pause.
Copyright 2021 Peter Funt distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Peter Funt’s new memoir, “Self-Amused,” is now available at CandidCamera.com.