A 2013 study found that the average business leader is connected to their work 72 hours a week. There are only 168 hours in a week, so if the leader is spending 72 of them working and let’s say eight hours a day (56 hours a week) on sleeping, eating and bathing, that only leaves 40 hours a week to do everything else they need or want to do.
A new book, Overworked and Overwhelmed by Scott Eblin deals with the “do more with less” culture and the 24/7 smartphone addicted environment that leaves many people on the brink of a stressed-out existence.
Even Google has studied the factors that make their employees feel energized or de-energized. One of the big findings is that their workers fall into 2 groups:
1. 31% are “segmenters” who work when they’re at work and ignore it when they’re away from work.
2. 69% are “integrators” who are “always on” and check in on their work at any time, regardless of where they are.
Here’s what’s interesting. The “integrators” say they’re burned out, whereas the “segmenters” are able to remain energized by work. Everyone agrees that “always on call, and always working” may yield some additional productivity in the short-term, but the impact of this way of life comes at the cost of our long-term productivity and motivation, and can be devastating to our happiness and physical well-being.
Elevated stress hormones and blood pressure over prolonged periods of time, degrades our immune and digestive systems. In the short-term, this leads to anxiety, insomnia, poor decision-making, lack of focus and generally poor health. In the long-term, it leads to broken relationships, premature aging and early death.
You have heard of the fight or flight response. But have you heard of the rest and digest response. The rest and digest is controlled by your body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This system keeps you from spinning out of control and crashing.
These tips may be helpful:
• Movement – Current research tells us that sitting is the new smoking. Just getting out of your chair every hour or so for a stretch or a quick walk can make a world of difference in your physical health and mental capacity.
• Breathing – Three deep breaths from your belly can clear out the chatter in your head and help you focus.
• Listening – Look for a few opportunities each day to have a conversation with someone where you have no other agenda than to listen to them.
• Reflection – Be grateful. Almost everyone has something in life, for which their life to be grateful. Make a list every day to remind yourself of what is truly important.
Take a break. Give yourself a night, a day, or a weekend away from email and work. Better yet, take a whole week off and go somewhere so remote that you cannot be contacted or interrupted by work or emails. After you’ve gotten a little rest and digest going, take some time for self-reflection by asking yourself 2 questions.
1. What am I really trying to achieve?
2. Who do I need to “be”, and how do I need to show up to do that?
The answers might surprise you but will certainly help you reconnect with the deeper purpose of your work. Fact: The only person who’s going to take care of you is you and this begins with simple steps but you have to take those steps.
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