How to Accomplish More by Doing Less

Kara Powell | Jan 6, 2012

If youre like me, you spent time during the holidays thinking (and hopefully praying) about goals for 2012. Many of my goals relate to my ongoing challenges in balancing ministry and motherhood, as well as the future of FYI.

This December Harvard Business Review blog on How to Accomplish More by Doing Less immediately grabbed my attention. It has helped me think not just about how to divide my time, but how to maximize my time by making sure I get enough rest. Heres the part of the blog that most struck me:

Create a workplace that truly values a balanced relationship between intense work and real renewal, and you’ll not only get greater productivity from employees, but also higher engagement and job satisfaction.

There’s plenty of evidence that increased rest and renewal serve performance.

Consider a study conducted by NASA, in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration, of pilots on long haul flights. One group of pilots was given an opportunity to take 40 minute naps mid-flight, and ended up getting an average of 26 minutes of actual sleep. Their median reaction time improved by 16 percent following their naps.

Non-napping pilots, tested at a similar halfway point in the flight, experienced a 34 percent deterioration in reaction time. They also experienced 22 micro sleeps of 2-10 seconds during the last 30 minutes of the flight. The pilots who took naps experienced none.

If youre like me, you wont be piloting a plane anytime soon. But I know that I am my best wife, mom, friend, and leader when I feel rested. If you want to get more done, you probably need to rest more. At least I know I do.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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