Get More Done by Doing Less

overworked lady“The way Americans work isn’t working,” says Tony Schwartz, performance expert and author of “Be Excellent at Anything.” Schwartz cites more than 100 studies to support his case, including a Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study of 90,000 employees in 18 countries that found only 20% of them — 1 of 5 — feel fully engaged at work, while 40% are actively disengaged. And, according to researchers, it’s no surprise this lack of engagement negatively impacts employee productivity and business performance, as well as employee health. Schwartz has been studying what factors may be at play here and what can be done to turn things around. According to his findings, most of us, especially Americans, wake up tired, feel stressed and overwhelmed, skip meals and eat on the run (or at our desks) and work long hours on the job. By working with companies like Google, Coca-Cola, and the LA Police Department and reviewing a growing body of multidisciplinary research, he found the paradoxical remedy is what he and others call “strategic renewal.” In other words, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. His tips for personal renewal and boosting our energy include daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations. The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology, says Schwartz, who espouses to working in 90-minute intervals, and practicing personal renewal by quieting the mind and relaxing the body.


  • Almost 90 percent of visits to primary health care providers are due to stress-related problems and stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents and suicide. Nearly one-half of all adults suffer adverse effects from stress and it is estimated that one million Americans miss work due to stress-related complaints. (
  • 34 percent of American adults take at least one prescription drug, 11.5 percent take three or more prescriptions drugs and 6.5 percent take four or more prescription drugs. While drugs are our most effective and cost effective treatment (and prevention) of many leading diseases, they are at times and in large numbers being abused. Those at the highest income levels and those at the lowest, are more likely to be taking prescription drugs than the middle class.  However, it is the lowest income Americans who are most likely to be on 4 or more drugs. (
  • Coughing can cause air to move through your windpipe faster than the speed of sound — over a thousand feet per second! (
  • More than 90 percent of people ages 18-24 said they would trust health information they found on social media channels. Patients are also taking to the Interwebs to talk about the care they received: 44 percent of people said they would share positive or negative experiences of a hospital or medical facility, and 42 percent said they wouldn’t hesitate to post comments about a doctor, nurse or healthcare provider on social media. (
  • Half of health care spending is used to treat just five percent of the population. A recent study found that U.S. health care spending is higher than that of other countries most likely because of higher prices and perhaps more readily accessible technology, greater obesity, an older population, and a greater supply of utilization of hospitals and doctors. (

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