I was in some meetings with two heads of a health care company’s new business division who are obese. From what I could glean, they didn’t take the time for exercise largely because they worked so many hours. They’ve compromised their own health as they are busily pursuing business solutions to health problems.
The boundary between work and home has disappeared along with the wires we once needed for phones and computers. Work hours are steadily creeping upwards.
For me, the worst thing about this is that it overlooks what research into the mysteries of the mind has repeatedly proven: gestation is a necessary component in creativity. When people are continually rushed to translate problems and information into solutions, the solutions they arrive at are almost invariably clichéd, predictable, and of little value. Research indicates that people need time after immersion in a problem to let it gestate before expecting a breakthrough.
My work with dozens and dozens of organizations has convinced me of this: there is no shortage that creativity cannot overcome. Whether the organization is short of customers, cash, or talented employees, the shortage can be overcome by creativity. Creativity, however, has trouble overcoming a shortage of time. And as organizations become less creative, they feel compelled to work longer hours, which further reduces the level of creativity.
Lest you think this hypothetical, you may be interested to know that Darwin worked only two to four hours a day. Last I heard, his insights had led to research and products worth hundreds of billions - perhaps trillions of dollars by now. You can't calculate the productivity of creativity any more than you can calculate the number of apples in an apple seed.