Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too muchâ€”too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of vergaderziekte, â€œmeeting sicknessâ€. However, a study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them.
Americans now toil for eight-and-a-half hours a week more than they did in 1979
80% of respondents continue to work after leaving the office, 69% cannot go to bed without checking their inbox and 38% routinely check their work e-mails at the dinner table.
workers are generally more creative on low-pressure days than on high-pressure days
The most obvious beneficiaries of leaning back would be creative workersâ€”the very people who are supposed to be at the heart of the modern economy.
One of the secrets of productivity is to have a very big waste-paper basket to take care of all invitations such as yours
Indeed, creative people may be at their most productive when, to the managerâ€™s untutored eye, they appear to be doing nothing.
But there is certainly a case for doing a lot lessâ€”for rationing e-mail, cutting back on meetings and getting rid of a few overzealous bosses. Leaning in has been producing negative returns for some time now. It is time to try the far more radical strategy of leaning back.
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