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Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work by [Perlow, Leslie A.]
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Product Description


“Ms. Perlow’s advice should be taken seriously” — The Economist

“Our refusal to break from work often actually reduces our effectiveness and can even lead to burnout. How can you learn to let go? In Sleeping with your Smartphone, Leslie Perlow suggests that part of a leader’s job is to teach his or her team to manage boundaries between work and private life. Disconnecting really is the solution: the workaholic consultants at Boston Consulting Group are proof. They made the decision to disconnect from work at given times, reviewed their work methods, and found ways to work and live better!” — Business Digest (France)

"A well-presented book with lots of practical tips for the workaholics! Even if change cannot be achieved at the organisation level you still get the sense that by making some small changes to how you work you can achieve a better home-work life balance." — BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT

“Perlow proves that we do not have to be hostages to our everyday devices - advice that is needed now more than ever.” — Business Executive

“So if you are looking for a way to be more effective as a manager, or team leader, turn off your phone and read Sleeping with Your Smartphone.” — The Chronicle Herald

Sleeping with Your Smartphone, should be required reading for any senior executive concerned about the dysfunctionality of "always-on" connectivity.” — The Observer (UK)

Sleeping with Your Smartphone provides excellent, proven principles for how to bring change into an existing corporate culture and how to empower employees to join in the fight to make the company better.” —

“If you’re looking for a book title that captures the frazzled, anxious life of executives who are too worried about work to ever unplug, you probably couldn’t do better than Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow’s new book, Sleeping With Your Smartphone.” — The Globe and Mail

“Leslie Perlow makes a strong case that you do not have to sleep with your smartphone, at least not every night.” — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Sleeping With Your Smartphone will enlighten any team trying to sync among themselves while questioning the worthwhile of on-demand accessibility.” — Business Insider

ADVANCE PRAISE for Sleeping with Your Smartphone:

“Professionals of all kinds complain about the difficulty of balancing life and work, but no one has had much insight about how to fix the problem…until Leslie Perlow went out and did it. This book should be required reading for every consultant, manager, HR professional, and working parent with a demanding career.” — Chip Heath, coauthor, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

“Leslie Perlow has given us a modern masterpiece, the only book that really shows how to harness those irresistible electronic intruders that now invade our lives. Sleeping with Your Smartphone is packed with evidence and specific, useful steps for building productive and creative workplaces that bolster rather than destroy our sanity and humanity.” — Robert I. Sutton, professor, Stanford University; author, Good Boss, Bad Boss

“Leslie Perlow, one of today’s leading experts in how organizations really function, has applied her prowess to a question that bedevils every professional: what impact does working harder and longer have on our achievements and our happiness? The answers in this marvelous book reveal that keeping our lives in balance is more important than we ever imagined—for ourselves and our organizations.” — Clayton M. Christensen, author, How Will You Measure Your Life?

“Who doesn’t want to build more effective and engaged teams? Sleeping with Your Smartphone illustrates counterintuitive insights and practical actions to ‘get it all done’ in our multitasking, hyperconnected world. The book shows how teams can improve work-life balance and increase company engagement while upping their output—all with a few small, doable steps.” — Sara LaPorta, Senior Vice President, PepsiCo

Sleeping with Your Smartphone challenges the current belief that 24/7 is required for success and that we are hostages to our devices. Leslie Perlow’s strategy is brilliant because it proves that we can improve the way we live and work…by disconnecting.” — Kristin C. Peck, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Business Development & Innovation, Pfizer Inc.

“Truly inspiring! Sleeping with Your Smartphone shows that even in the most high-pressure environments, it is possible to disconnect and become more productive as a result. I am looking forward to implementing the strategy with my own teams.” — Deborah Ellinger, former President, Restoration Hardware

Product Description

Does it have to be this way?

Can’t resist checking your smartphone or mobile device? Sure, all this connectivity keeps you in touch with your team and the office—but at what cost?

In Sleeping with Your Smartphone, Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow reveals how you can disconnect and become more productive in the process. In fact, she shows that you can devote more time to your personal life and accomplish more at work.

The good news is that this doesn’t require a grand organizational makeover or buy-in from the CEO. All it takes is collaboration between you and your team—working together and making small, doable changes.

What started as an experiment with a six-person team at The Boston Consulting Group—one of the world’s elite management consulting firms—triggered a global initiative that eventually spanned more than nine hundred BCG teams in thirty countries across five continents. These teams confronted their nonstop workweeks and changed the way they worked, becoming more efficient and effective.

The result? Employees were more satisfied with their work-life balance and with their work in general. And the firm was better able to recruit and retain employees. Clients also benefited—often in unexpected ways.

In this engaging book, Perlow takes you inside BCG to witness the challenges and benefits of disconnecting. She provides a step-by-step guide to introducing change on your team—by establishing a collective goal, encouraging open dialogue, ensuring leadership support—and then spreading change to the rest of your firm.

If you and your colleagues are grappling with the “always on” problem, it’s time to disconnect—and start reading.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3316 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (May 1 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007WSNOH4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #603,930 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
Ignore the title of this book. It serves only the publisher's marketing purposes. Focus instead on the subtitle: "How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work." As is also true of most other business books, the subtitle is informative. It reveals why Leslie Perlow wrote the book. Clearly, she agrees with Charles Duhigg's observation in his book, The Power of Habit: ""We now know why habits emerge, how they change, and the science behind their mechanics. We know how to break them into parts and rebuild them to our specifications. We know how to make people eat less, exercise more, work more efficiently, and live healthier lives. Transforming a habit isn't necessarily easy or quick. It isn't always simple. But it is possible. And now we know why."

In Perlow's book, the smartphone is not the problem nor is [begin italics] how [end italics] the smartphone is used. Its use (actually abuse) is a symptom of the root problem: A mindset that ignores or under-appreciates the nature and extent of what can be controlled in terms of, for example, setting priorities, allocating resources, managing time, and renewing energy. Duhigg asserts - and I agree -- that we must create a better habit for changing habits just as Clay Christensen urges us to think more innovatively about innovation and Jon Katzenberg urges us to change how we think about change.

What Perlow offers in this book is a non-nonsense, practical, results-driven process by which to turn off electronically, while improving the work that is done. She calls the process PTO "because - at the core, when people work together to create `predictable time off' [PTO], people, teams, and ultimately the organization all stand to benefit" as do, I presume to add, an organization's past, current, and prospective customers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9faca978) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fae2edc) out of 5 stars Want to squeeze your whole personal life into 1 night per week and call it success? Didn't think so. June 25 2012
By Alisa M. Berman - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author is missing the point, the title is misleading. If you are looking to shift priorities and excel at work while still having happy, uninterrupted personal time on a daily basis, this book will not help you. This book is about giving people one 'night' (as in, you worked that day, but truly 'clock out' at 6pm) off per week, and it's something that must be done at the team or organizational level. One night per week is not enough for a real personal life, and, most workers who are sleeping with their smartphones don't have control of their team and/or organization. If you are an executive looking for a way to help your team to stop sleeping with their smart phones one day per week, this might be moderately useful for you. I found it to be highly disappointing and wish I could return a kindle book :(
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f47c0b4) out of 5 stars How to implement meaningful change in any corporate culture May 24 2012
By James T. Wood - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Leslie A Perlow, of the Harvard Business Review, recently published Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work. The book details the experimental implementation of a predictable time-off policy within the Boston Consulting Group to have just one night off a week. Through the process, Perlow and her team learned that the time off resulted in more than just a night of rest, but also enabled the consultants from BCG to feel better about work and the clients to be happier with the work provided. How is it possible that working less time yielded better results?
If anything, BCG has one of the worst reputations for work-life balance. Consultants often travel four days a week and are glued to their smartphones. Emails are exchanged at all hours of the night and on weekends. So even when consultants aren't at work, they're still responsive to work issues. Perlow calls this the Cycle of Responsiveness. People feel pressured to be available for work, coworkers notice the availability and contact them, schedules adjust to allow for the responsiveness and the cycle continues until it creates a culture.
The experiment was simple. Each consultant on a team would take one night off each week. Just one night of not answering emails until midnight, not working on PowerPoint slides in the hotel room and not sitting in the client's conference room until 8pm. Perlow's thesis was that change needed to be implemented as a team to address the cultural roots of the Cycle of Responsiveness.
The experiment almost immediately ran into trouble. Consultants didn't want to appear lazy or entitled in front of their coworkers, so they'd skip the night off, but then resent anyone who didn't do the same. So, to keep the experiment running, Perlow resurrected an old BCG practice, the Pulse Check. In a weekly meeting, team members would discuss how they felt about the progress and process of their work.
When people started opening up with meaningful dialog about the process, the time off became a shared goal that they could all work toward. They started developing systems to work better, cover for each other and share project information. The tacit goal was to enable each person to take a few hours off one night a week, but the overall effects were far more profound.
Since each person knew more about the process, they were able to anticipate each other's needs better. Because there was overlap in responsibility, the client felt more well served. And because the meaningful dialog allowed everyone to voice issues, the BCG consultants felt better about their job and their future with the firm.
Perlow writes well and uses the story of BCG to tease out the principles in the book. It's filled with quotes, stories and statistics culled from three years of experimenting with BCG teams around the world. Reading the book feels like taking a tour of the firm, the characters are warm and engaging (though they're often anonymous for the sake of confidentiality).
The book begins to lose steam toward the end. The introduction promised broad-ranging application, but Perlow kept returning to the stories of BCG, which start to feel worn out by the last chapter. Other than a lack of specific application outside the hyper-intense culture of BCG, the book Sleeping with Your Smartphone provides excellent, proven principles for how to bring change into an existing corporate culture and how to empower employees to join in the fight to make the company better.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f61fcb4) out of 5 stars Academically rigorous and wonderfully readable June 2 2012
By Katherine C. Kellogg - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Sleeping with your Smartphone" is both academically rigorous and wonderfully readable. Perlow describes how her small field experiment at the Boston Consulting Group, done solely for research purposes, unleashed a global initiative that has involved over 1,000 teams and is mandated to be part of 80% of BCG teams globally by year end. The consultants she studied worked long hours and were expected to make work their top priority. When not at work, they incessantly checked their wireless devices to ensure that nothing new had come up. They put up with this pressure to always be available because they believed that to be successful in a professional service firm, they had to be accessible and willing to jump into action whenever called.

Unfortunately for them, this behavior created a "cycle of responsiveness" where genuine pressure to be on got amplified though the consultants' own actions. As they adjusted themselves to demands from clients and teammates by adapting the technology they used, altering their daily schedules, and modifying their interactions with their families and friends, their colleagues experienced this increased responsiveness, and their colleagues' own requests expanded rather than shrank. Interestingly, it was not the long hours or constant connectivity per se that bothered the consultants and led them to consider leaving the firm; it was the unpredictability of these hours. None of them could ever plan anything in the middle of the week.

As expected, the consultants could not break the cycle of responsiveness alone. What is exciting and unexpected in the book is that fundamental change did not require top management support or buy-in from clients. Instead, Perlow compellingly demonstrates that it was possible for her consultants to unplug before BCG top management got on board with the experiments and decided to press for widespread change in their organization's culture. What was required, instead, was collaboration among team members on the consultants' individual teams. By working with team members to establish a collective goal, encourage truly open dialogue, and make small, doable changes, the consultants were able to break the need to accommodate to the pressure to be always on. And, almost unbelievably if not for Perlow's careful documentation of the change process within project teams across BCG's global organization, devoting more time to their personal lives allowed the consultants to accomplish more rather than less at work.

By addressing the problem of unpredictable time demands, Perlow was able to both improve the consultants' lives and improve employee retention for the organization. Based on the success of her experiments, BCG decided to try to transform its culture into one that respects those who set boundaries. This is fundamental change in an industry where there are such strong beliefs about the need to always be connected. And, it is more than enough reason for anyone who struggles with being always "on" to read this book and try to create change in their own organizations.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2914fb4) out of 5 stars Exceptional Book about How to Create a Win-Win for Teams & Individuals May 7 2012
By Diana - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Leslie Perlow wrote an exceptional book about how to redesign work, improve team dynamics and enhance the individual's experience at work. She effectively challenges the notion that we need to be on 24/7 and remain permanently connected to the workplace. As a working parent, I applaud Leslie for addressing this issue with practical tips that any manager can implement after reading this book. If we all follow this advice, we can improve our satisfaction at work and have more more quality time with our families - a real win-win!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fbc5024) out of 5 stars A compelling approach for improving workplace productivity, as well as a readable and well-resarched book May 16 2012
By Beth Greenberg - Published on
Format: Hardcover
With candor and excellent research, Leslie Perlow tells us what we already know, but are afraid to admit: Turning off our work lives at predictable intervals allows us to perform better in all aspects of our lives. The 24/7 work week (or infinite loop...) that technology has prompted and promoted isn't good for anyone. If our work life is a grind, with no relief on the horizon, it's not good for supervisors, not good for senior staff, not good for support staff, not good for family life. The well-documented case study at Boston Consulting Group is convincing evidence of the efficacy of Dr. Perlow's approach. BCG's Rachel Levine and her team are impressive in their trust and collaboration, in developing a program so completely counter to typical corporate culture.

Clearly Ms. Levine and Dr. Perlow spent a great deal of time introducing the PTO (Predictable Time Off) protocol and determining the best way to integrate it into an institution as committed to the 24/7 work day as BCG must have been. Kudos to everyone involved at BCG, and to Dr. Perlow, who will hopefully become recognized as an agent of change in businesses small and large across the US and internationally. By changing how companies function, Dr. Perlow's approach (and her book) have the capacity to improve the lives of millions of employees across the globe. I hope they all put down their smartphones and pick up this book.