In the June 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review, author Tony Schwartz explains how those in leadership positions have many opportunities to help their teams replenish their energy. Schwartz says, “It’s all about providing examples for others and creating a safe environment.”
Today, I listened to the corresponding, The HBR IdeaCast (iTunes podcast) and it certainly reaffirmed my position that we all need to ‘recharge our batteries’ in order to operate at our peak performance. According to Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, the magic number happens to be, 90 minutes. That is, one hour and a half of focused work; then we need a re-energizing break. While he made it clear that the break shouldn’t necessarily equal the time spent on focused work, replenishing our energy is the critical part. The key, according to Schwartz, is how well you recover; not how long. He compared it to how some people work for a long period of time, but may not be as productive as someone working in a more focused manner. Similarly, breaks are dependent on the person, whereas some need more or less than others.
He went on to emphasize that humans are not made to operate like computers; we need to renew to succeed. Continue reading