Can Working Less Actually Make You More Productive?

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An article in The Washington Post relays how Christine Carter, sociologist and author of the book The Sweet Spot, found that productivity increases when workers are actually doing less.

Carter is also one of the founders of the Greater Good Science Center At Berkeley, where she studies happiness and productivity. In her book, she defines the sweet spot as “when you’re operating with the greatest ease, with the least resistance, and the greatest power of strength.”

She discusses how we’ve long been programmed to believe that busyness indicates importance and that if we’re not busy or even overworked then we’re not being productive. Her findings, however, have shown that we can find a “sweet spot” at work by taking time to step away and work fewer hours overall. By doing so, another creative part of our brains come alive.

In a nutshell, the neuroscience behind her theory is that the brain has two networks dedicated to attention—task positive and task negative—and only one is active at a time. The task-positive attention network is active when we are focusing on doing an intentional task, like work. The task-negative attention network is activated when we let our minds wander or daydream and we’re not focusing on accomplishing a task.

Most people think that the task-positive mode is crucial for productivity and that the task-negative mode is just wasting time. However, our ‘ah-ha’ ideas and insights come from the task-negative attention part of our brain, when we’re just staring out the window or letting our minds wander. In this mode, our brain’s neurons are free at an unconscious level to make connections between things not seen before. This is when the breakthrough ideas occur.

How An Answering Service Can Help

While Carter’s findings are based on science, her proof of being more productive by working less is based on personal experience. After months of prolonged stress and illness, she decided to implement her own advice and scale back on work. A key part of her solution was to take 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day and use technology more strategically, specifically limiting times that she responded to emails and phone calls.

What she found was that although she felt it was her responsibility to be responsive to calls and emails all the time, she was more productive—and less stressed—when she strategically limited time spent on these tasks by handling them in batches 3 times during the day rather than constantly.

A live answering service is an ideal solution to still have all your calls answered as they come in.  The receptionists at a live answering service handle each call promptly, which keeps your customers happy while allowing you to manage any tasks related to those calls within scheduled time periods so that your attention isn’t scattered throughout the day.

The professional answering service receptionists act as extensions of your team and customize how each call is handled based on your priorities. They answer frequently asked questions such as giving information on the products or services you provide and can distinguish between urgent and non-urgent calls. This means you and your staff are only interrupted when it’s absolutely necessary.

As Carter says, “You’ll be able to respond more efficiently, do your job better, decrease your stress and create space for insight.” As a result, you’ll work with more ease throughout the day while increasing productivity, which most likely will increase revenue. Just imagine—working less and being more productive. That’s a sweet spot Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. can help you find.

Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. provides live answering services that exceed your expectations, with customized communication solutions, appointment scheduling, and secure messaging to save you time and money while increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our flat-rate plans have no hidden fees and are offered on month-to-month service agreements. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799.