Are you feeling productive?

109If not, you aren’t alone. As we begin 2010, more and more of my clients are reporting that they are overworked, stressed, and they fear that soon their productivity will suffer.

But consider this: Just last November, in a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Productivity Soared in Third Quarter,” reporters John Hilsenrath and Luca Di Leo wrote:

The Labor Department said the output per hour of nonfarm workers rose at an annual rate of 9.5% in the quarter, more than four times the average productivity growth rate of the past quarter-century. When taken together with the second quarter’s 6.9% rise, it was the strongest productivity growth rate over a six-month period since 1961. Click here to read the entire article.

Amazing, right? Statistically speaking, the US workforce is actually more productive than it has been in years — despite the rash of layoffs and workforce reductions we saw in 2009.

But here’s my question: Can fewer workers produce more output, and sustain it? If so, what toll will it take on their health, their lives, and ultimately their companies — not just today, but in the future? See my thoughts and suggestions below.

Advice for the weary: Because I’m so passionate about this topic, I wanted to get an expert opinion on the psychological impact of feeling overworked. On the right, you’ll find my interview with therapist Anne Lee, of Bethesda Counseling Associates, who deals with issues of burnout on a daily basis and offers ideas on how to cope with workplace stress.

Take a break: Since reading is the way I relieve my stress, I can think of no better book to share on the topic of burnout than Wayne Muller’s “Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest and Delight.” His thoughtful suggestions are not to be missed.

I hope all of this food for thought brings you a welcome respite from your busy day. As always, I invite you to share your management experiences and ideas with me.

Wishing you much warmth on this freezing February day.

Best regards, Alice

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