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A Minute to Think: Reclaim Creativity, Conquer Busyness, and Do Your Best Work

Dylan Schleicher

July 28, 2021

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Overwork is glorified in our culture, but it is undermining our overall performance. Instead of suggesting we need to push through, Juliet Funt offers us a thoughtful way out.

A Minute to Think: Reclaim Creativity, Conquer Busyness, and Do Your Best Work by Juliet Funt, Harper Business 

How have you been? It’s a very common question. And the most common answer we are likely to get (and give, if we’re honest) is busy. I find myself saying this too often for comfort, and I cringe a little every time it escapes my mouth. Even if we don’t wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as so many of us do, most of us do wear it, and it wears us down. And still, we are constantly plagued with worries that we’re not doing enough, always wondering if we can do and have and make more. Juliet Funt is here to tell us…  

The path of more is not sustainable. If we can’t let people have a sane and humane workflow, they are going to suffer individually and become less valuable to us. Burnout is real and has never been more of a threat. Gallup tells us 23 percent of workers feel burnt out more often than not, with another 44 percent experiencing it occasionally. Deloitte found that two-thirds of today’s employees feel “overwhelmed” and an astounding 80 percent of men would like to work fewer hours. We need to imagine and then purposefully create a work world with less as part of the plan.  

Overwork is glorified in our culture, but it is undermining our overall performance. The most influential CEOs and sports stars, when explaining their success in interviews, often talk about how they simply outworked their competitors. What we don’t hear about as much is the need for rest and recovery, and for reflection. And what we’re hearing about much more lately is the mental health toll that such pressure and overwork can cause. We need the ability to step back, to think, reflect, envision, plan, and strategize. To be at our best, we must carve out time to take a strategic pause, whether that means finding open windows of time in our daily routines to do nothing but pay attention to and follow our thoughts, taking a moment in between receiving information and reacting to it, or taking time off to reset. As Funt writes:   

When people are freed from the antiquated notion that unfilled time is the enemy, they discover that taking a minute to think is a formidable source of professional power.  

She compares the space we need to give ourselves to the space a fire needs to burn, and insists that in our overscheduled, overworked environments, “There’s no oxygen to feed the fire.” Rich in such analogies and insight, while addressing both our personal and professional lives, Funt helps us find a starting point to end the busywork that extinguishes the flame of creativity in our lives and organizations. “We begin by striking a single claim: Thinking is time well spent.”

About The Author

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of Porchlight since 2003. After beginning in shipping and receiving, he moved through customer service (with some accounting on the side) before entering into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the editorial and creative aspects of the company. Outside of work, you’ll find him volunteering or hanging out at his kids’ school, catching the weekly summer concert at the Washington Park Bandshell, or strolling through one of the many other parks or greenspaces around his home in Milwaukee (most likely in his garden). He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.

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