Sue Shellenbarger, in today’s Wall Street Journal, reports on a Harvard Business School study that showed benefits of taking some time off from work every week. Shellenbarger also tried to keep one day per weekend work-free all month. She also reported good results: “On one recent Monday, after an invigorating weekend of working out, attending church and watching college football and hiking with friends, I quickly solved a work problem that had baffled me the previous week.”
What’s surprising about this study is that the results are a surprise to anyone. Working while exhausted does not promote the world’s greatest critical thinking. Yet, crushing work schedules continue to be a badge of honor among senior executives. I wonder how many bad acquisitions could have been avoided if the acquiring CEOs and CFOs followed Shellenbarger’s prescription?