CHAPTER 2

Are You Too Stressed to Be Productive? Or Not Stressed Enough?

by Francesca Gino

If you’re like me, you often ask yourself how you can get more work done in a day. How can you best boost your productivity? I always assumed that if I could just reduce any stress I was facing, my productivity would rise. But my intuition was, in fact, wrong. It’s true that stress can be a health risk, and that we’re often encouraged to avoid it if we want to live happy, productive, and long lives. But research suggests that some stress can actually be beneficial to performance.

FIGURE 2-1

Take a look at figure 2-1. According to what is known as the “Yerkes-Dodson ...

Get HBR Guide to Being More Productive (HBR Guide Series) now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.