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How Marketers Can Have Better, More Productive Days

Hal Conick

Many Americans work long hours in stressful jobs, often becoming sick or dissatisfied in the process. Caroline Webb wants to help them have better days.  

Caroline Webb loves her work. Case in point: she was called “the happiest person at McKinsey” by a co-worker when she worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Despite her job satisfaction, the long hours and late nights took a toll on Webb.

Three years into her job as a consultant, Webb got sick. An infection of her central nervous system put her out of work for six months. She fought back to health over the next eight months, gradually increasing her workload until she was well enough to work full-time. However, she found herself at a career crossroads: Long hours didn’t always mean better work, she thought, and they certainly didn’t mean good health or a sustainable personal life. “I had to acknowledge that I did not have infinite stamina,” Webb says. “I became very interested in how to do more with less. That was one of the turning points in my career.”

Trained as an economist, Webb became interested in how she could work smarter—“do more with less,” as she puts it. She pored over hundreds of psychology and behavioral economics books and studies and applied the techniques to her life. Webb compiled her research into a book, How to Have a Good Day, and founded Sevenshift, an advisory firm that helps people use science to excel at work.

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Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at hconick@ama.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.