Actually Tony Schartz’s HBR headline was Four destructive myths most companies still live by. However, I think they are applicable to many church leaders too. Here’s a summary:

Myth #1: Multitasking is critical in a world of infinite demand.
This myth is based on the assumption that human beings are capable of doing two cognitive tasks at the same time. We’re not…In fact we lose 25% of our time due to the “switching time” required.

Myth #2: A little bit of anxiety helps us perform better.
The more anxious we feel, the less clearly and imaginatively we think, and the more reactive and impulsive we become. That’s not good for you, and it also has huge implications if you’re in a supervisory role.

Myth #3: Creativity is genetically inherited, and it’s impossible to teach.
Despite our deeply ingrained belief that deeply ingrained belief that creativity is mostly inborn and magical, research has proven that creativity is actually teachable and reachable for all of us.

Myth #4: The best way to get more work done is to work longer hours.
I’m not going to summarize this one but simply give it in its entirety:

No single myth is more destructive to employers and employees than this one. The reason is that we’re not designed to operate like computers — at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time.

Instead, human beings are designed to pulse intermittently between spending and renewing energy. Great performers — and enlightened leaders — recognize that it’s not the number of hours people work that determines the value they create, but rather the energy they bring to whatever hours they work.

Rather than systematically burning down our reservoir of energy as the day wears on, as most of us do, intermittent renewal makes it possible to keep our energy steady all day long. Strategically alternating periods of intense focus with intermittent renewal, at least every 90 minutes, makes it possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably.

Want to test the assumption? Choose the most challenging task on your agenda before you go to sleep each night over the next week. Set aside 60 to 90 minutes at the start of the following day to focus on the activity you’ve chosen.

Choose a designated start and stop time, and do your best to allow no interruptions. (It helps to turn off your email.) Succeed and it will almost surely be your most productive period of the day. When you’re done, reward yourself by taking a true renewal break.

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  • Peter Ratcliff

    Sometimes long hours are fine but I’m sure we do need breaks, especially with our Sabbath taken up by preaching and ministry. Since starting about 6 weeks ago, I have found that a cold water swim most days has freshened my up tremendously. It takes some time but with the exercise of cycling to the pool and back, maybe with a short run to warm up afterwards, it has improved my general fitness which makes work a bit easier. It can’t be right to sit at a desk or computer for 90% of your day.

    • David Murray

      I’ll take the cycle and the run, but you’re on your own in the cold water swim, Peter!