Can I ask, are you tired?
Do you wonder if you’ll make it to the end of the year?
From our work collaborating with clients from large and small firms, we are hearing the same thing – people are tired and there are no surprises why. The downward run into the end-of-year festivities can prove as exhausting as they are exciting. The reality confronts us — life is busy. Work schedules are full. Deliverables still need delivering. So how do you balance it all?
Balancing on the tightrope
Just like the tightrope walker walking the high wire, high performance in leadership is achieved by balance.
When you’re feverishly going about your work trying to make deadlines, skipping lunch and working late. You’re like a wobbly tightrope walker. It puts you at risk of losing the balance of the mental and physical capability required to implement your work, and you may be heading for a fall.
“Understanding balance is key to enhancing the way you perform as a leader,” says Nicole Lyons from About My Brain Institute. “Your brain works best when it is balanced. Maintaining your physical body and ensuring that you get enough rest is critical to maintaining your brain’s balance.”
Balancing balance when it’s busy
So how do you aim for balance when it’s busy? We’ve collated four of our favourite tips to inspire, refresh and energise you to finish the year well. These were inspired by a wonderful resource from our friends at Alchemy called The 6 Cylinders of Wellness.
Take a mini-break in your day
Your brain is incredible, but like your body, it also needs a break. Even when the day seems full, just by stepping outside, having lunch with a friend, or walking around the block can be all you need to recalibrate for the next task and help you to perform at your best.
“We’ll never eliminate the stress and things that keep us so busy,” said Jack Groppel, co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, “so the key is how to create regular opportunities for the body to recover from stress — just as you would rest your muscles between weight lifting repetitions.”
The Lesson: Without a break, we risk burnout – ALCHEMY Career Management
Don’t skip the zzzz’s
Any productivity gains by skipping sleep are undone by the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Aside from moodiness or irritation, sleep prevents you from creative thinking, multi-tasking and can affect your memory (Dinges: Sleep, Sleepiness and Performance, 1991). So could you down tools a bit earlier and hit the pillow instead?
And if you have a habit of hugging your smartphone before bed, there’s growing evidence that’s proving the short-wavelength blue light can scramble your sleep patterns. Leading Australian researcher Shantha Rajaratnam recommends devices should be shut down up to two hours before bedtime.
The Lesson: Regular sleep helps you to stay focused, relaxed, productive and in a good mood – ALCHEMY Career Management
Could you believe that just 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise in your day could mean a 65% drop in fatigue (2008 University of Georgia study). Imagine how that could make you feel? So how could you incorporate movement into your day? Could you get off one bus or train stop earlier and walk? Could you go for a walk at lunch?
If you can’t schedule a long break, how could you get more active incrementally? The studies are rife that long periods of sitting aren’t healthy, could you build moments of activity throughout the day? Every 45 minutes get up and stretch your legs. Going for a coffee. Walking down the stairs to the meeting instead of by lift?
The Lesson: When you’re active, you have more energy, you sleep better and the blood flow increases your cognitive capacity. – ALCHEMY Career Management
Connect with others
When things get busy and chaotic, you may find yourself withdrawing from other people and saying no to connections. Even though you don’t feel like it, now is a great time to say yes to social connections. Resilience studies show that people are more resilient when they have a strong support network of friends and/or family to help them through busy or difficult times. And you can get an even bigger resilience boost by giving support.
“Any way you can reach out and help other people is a way of moving outside of yourself, and this is an important way to enhance your own strength,” said Dr Steven Southwick, a psychiatry professor at Yale Medical School. “Part of resilience is taking responsibility for your life, and for creating a life that you consider meaningful and purposeful. It doesn’t have to be a big mission — it could be your family. As long as what you’re involved in has meaning to you, it will carry you through all sorts of adversity.”
The Lesson: We’re happier and less stressed when we connect with our social network in person. – ALCHEMY Career Management
How do you rate?
The team at ALCHEMY Career Management have created the 6 Cylinders of Wellness to help you rate yourself in this area.
Click here to access the 6 cylinders of wellness® on their website.
Complete your scorecard and action plan to focus on your low scores. They have found that revisiting this guide once a week for 6 weeks results in a decrease in stress and workload pressure while increasing energy, focus and concentration. It worked for me. 🙂
Our purpose is to make transformational change achievable and create a lasting capability for our clients. Our unique approach empowers organisations to create the best return on investment for their change efforts.
We’ve seen that the sooner an organisation is willing to identify and address its (human) change capability needs and gaps in detail, the quicker it will be likely to reap the rewards.