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FCW : May 15, 2014
May 15, 2014 FCW.COM 25 Technology workers are particularly susceptible to the fallacy that it’s ben- eficial to spend more hours on the job. “There’s this macho culture in the IT and tech field that the more hours you work [and] the less sleep you get, the more dedicated you are and the better worker you are,” Schulte told FCW. “You’re not more productive. You’re doing nobody any good by putting in crazy, crazy hours.” Instead, work with your team and managers to create a clear set of goals and a realistic description of the work that needs to happen. Take quiet time alone to identify your few top priori- ties each day and each week, and stick to that plan. Use your vacation time, and recognize that sometimes taking a break is a faster path to a solution than hunching over a keyboard all night or spending more time in meetings. “Neuroscience is showing that when we are idle, when we are at rest, when we take a break from work, we are actually most creative,” Schulte said. “That is when our brains are most active. That is when the ‘aha’ moment of inspiration comes.” We must also guard against technol- ogy-aided interruptions to our work- flow, such as email and instant mes- saging. They are seductive and hard to control, and they degrade our work. Train yourself to work in pulses of 60 to 90 minutes without any interrup- tions. You’ll be more productive over- all and better able to end the day at a reasonable time to return to your family, Schulte said. ‘All Joy and No Fun’ Earlier this year, it was almost impos- sible to turn on the radio or open a book-related publication without see- ing something about “All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parent- hood” by New York magazine writer Jennifer Senior. Like an anthropologist studying modern-day America, Senior made a series of visits to parents, families and researchers in a quest to understand how raising children has become so overwhelming and why it contributes to parental unhappiness. The broad changes in society in the past few decades — notably women flooding the workplace and the dom- inance of two-income families — underpin the phenomena that Senior describes, much as they do in Schulte’s book. Senior, however, zeroes in on the overwhelming weight we put on children to give our lives meaning and emotional fulfillment, as opposed to previous generations that reproduced in order to have more hands on the farm. Indeed, her insight points to one big takeaway from “All Joy and No Fun”: Everyone will be better off if you train your children to do chores and contribute to the household. “Neuroscience is showing that when we are idle, when we are at rest, when we take a break from work, we are actually most creative.” “It’s a high-class problem to...be able to contemplate getting work/life balance because it means you don’t have three shifts to worry about.”
April 30, 2014
May 30, 2014