Saturday, March 1, 2014

Harvard Biz Review: Take a walk: It will make you more productive

Take a Walk, Sure, but Don’t Call It a Break
by Dan Pallotta
Every weekday morning, I take a three-and-a-half mile walk around my neighborhood, in pretty much whatever weather my New England town throws at me. I split an apple and give half to each of the horses at the corner of Cross Street. The sounds of their chomps and slurps fill me with vicarious happiness.

When I was a kid I walked to school every day with John Flaherty, Doug Casey, and Rollie Graham. At the end of the day, after debate practice, Bill Bailey, Paul Salamanca, and I would walk home. We never stopped talking for a minute, and we could have used another hour each day to say all that was on our minds.

Part of the reason I created the Breast Cancer 3-Days, a charity walk, back in 1998, was to offer women with breast cancer and their supporters the luxury of having three days to converse, to daydream, and to imagine—without any of the aggravation of day-to-day life intruding.

But we’re wrong to think of walking only as a way to calm the mind, a source of exercise, or as a leisurely luxury. When it comes to work, walking can dramatically increase productivity. In a very real sense, walking can be work, and work can be done while walking. In fact, some of the most important work you may ever do can be done walking.

Last year I gave the closing talk at the 2013 TED Conference. The talk has been viewed nearly three million times and is now one of the 100 most-viewed TED talks of all time. I rehearsed the talk entirely on icy-cold morning walks over the course of about two months last January and February. Far from a luxury, I dreaded those walks, because my rehearsing was hard work. The productivity of that hour was so dense—it was mentally exhausting. Had I stayed home, chained to my desk, where most of us are taught that real serious work happens, the work would have been easier—but far less productive. I’d have gone online every few minutes to check a favorite news site. Grabbed a chocolate chip cookie or a glass of water. Checked my e-mail. Walking affords no such distractions. It’s just you and the work.

A 2013 study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato from Leiden University found that people who go for a walk or ride a bike four times a week are able to think more creatively than people who lead a sedentary life. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those benefits are independent of mood. Sunlight also boosts seratonin levels, which can improve your outlook.

Read the rest  here.

1 comment:

  1. "Take a walk: It will make you more productive."

    Advice for the ENTIRE federal government, no doubt...