Is Overcommitment Stealing Your Productivity?
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
Last week I shared what can be accomplished if we are committed to something. It sounds so good, and it usually is, but beware, it can go bad, and when it does, it’s not pretty. We often measure commitment by how hard we work or how many hours we put into a job or our career. For years I bought into this fallacy. When we focus on this metric, we are setting ourselves up for some horrible results.
It was summer 2006, one day before my family and I were to drive to Virginia for a weeklong church conference. The chores were all done and the car was packed, so my sons and I decided to make a quick stop at the Syracuse Nationals car show. We love the old cars and since we had some time, why not? My first sign of trouble was a pain in my arms as I walked around the Fairgrounds. When I climbed the steps to the old grandstands, I couldn’t catch my breath. On my way back to the car the pain began to shoot up my neck. Upon arriving at home, my boys shared this with my wife and the next thing I knew I was in the ER at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I was only 44, not overweight, never smoked, and only occasionally had a glass of wine — what was happening to me?! To make a long story short, I didn’t have a heart attack, but the stress was getting to me, and this episode was a shot across my bow so to speak. A lesson that I didn’t learn and one that would come back to haunt me six years later.
Why all the stress? The company I was running was needing my time — and lots of it. If I wasn’t at work, I was thinking about work. If I did schedule time off to take a vacation, I would be checking my emails or driving to the plant to address an issue. I just thought the key to success in my job was to work harder and work more. Michael Hyatt, the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, calls this the Hustle Fallacy. The data reveals that when we cross 50 hours of work per week, we begin to decrease our productivity. One study revealed that 50 hours on the job only yielded 37 hours of productivity, and when we push it to 55, we drop to 30 hours of productivity. What a waste of time and energy.
How about you? Summer is just starting. Will you be willing to take time to care for yourself and your loved ones so, in the end, you are more productive? You really can get more by doing less.
If you would like to hear more statics and information on this topic and find out what finally taught me the lesson about overworking, join Marisa and me on The Next Page podcast.