If you are like many small business owners, you wear multiple hats and often find yourself with too much to do and too few hours in the day. Your team is likely just as dedicated and busy. So how can you help yourself and your team relax and ease the feeling of having too little time to get everything done? According to a recent study, encouraging them to take altruism breaks each day works wonders.

An altruism break is taking time out of the day to do something for someone else, such as writing an encouraging letter to a sick child or performing a non-work related service for a customer. The study, Giving Time Gives You Time, from researchers at Wharton, Yale and Harvard found that such breaks provide a feeling of “self-efficacy” and that spending time on oneself does not. Based on analysis of four experiments, the authors conclude that taking time out of the day to help someone else actually alleviates the time pressure most people feel. And, although spending this time on others necessarily consumes actual time, it gives people the impression of having more free time, thus making them “more willing to commit to future engagements despite their busy schedules.”

While mandating altruistic acts during the workday may be self-defeating, you can certainly encourage your team members. Let your team know that you would like them actively to seek opportunities to help customers; find a local team or charity to sponsor; or create a program that recognizes employees for the help they provide to others. And, don’t forget to take altruism breaks yourself. You may be surprised at how energetic and productive they make you feel.

This Small Business Tip from PaySimple offers one more way to make your small business more productive.

Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I’m the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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