The Groundhog is Right

February 26th, 2013  | 

Published in Problem Solving

Earlier this month we watched a groundhog.

It’s a custom begun in the 18th century among Pennsylvanians who brought this tradition from Germany:  if the groundhog sees his shadow and returns to his burrow we’ll have six more weeks of winter weather, but if the groundhog pops out and likes what he sees we can anticipate an early spring.

It’s a fact-based custom:  hibernating animals take a long snooze in the winter and re-emerge in the spring rested and refreshed.

Research shows we can learn from the groundhog.

In the past 100 years, the way to get more done has been to work longer.  Yes, we needed to work smarter, but investing more of our time was the way to accomplish more.

Studies conducted in the 1950s are being confirmed by new research that shows a break from the constant throb of work can increase productivity.  Long periods of uninterrupted work decrease productivity.

An internal study by Ernst & Young showed that employees who took an additional 10 hours of vacation improved their performance ratings.

Other effective techniques for fighting mental fatigue and boosting productivity include leaving the office for lunch, alternating work on one project to focus on a different task and – yes – daytime naps.

So stop working like a dog.  Work like a groundhog.

About the Author: Greg Bustin is an executive coach, consultant and speaker who has delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. Greg advises leaders at some of the world’s most admired companies, and his views about leadership have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Investor’s Business Daily, Leader to Leader, and other major publications. He’s written five leadership books. His newest book, How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices (Sourcebooks), examines decision-making in history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies. How Leaders Decide

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