I’m not going to shock anyone by stating many of us are on the verge of burnout. In October 2012, the Globe and Mail reported “work-life balance for Canadians is more off kilter than ever. Despite years of warnings about striking work-life balance, Canadians are in a deeper rut than ever. Almost two-thirds of us are working more than 45 hours a week – 50-per-cent more than two decades ago. Work weeks are more rigid, with flex-time arrangements dropping by a third in the past 10 years. To top it off, only 23 per cent of working Canadians are highly satisfied with life. That’s half as many as in 1991.”
(Source: Globe and Mail Work-Life Balance)
How many hats am I wearing today?
In the workplace, the expectation is that for a minimum of eight hours each day, we will perform our best. For many of us, it’s much more than eight hours. And most of us attempt to do that without doing anything to support us in our efforts, while still carrying out several other roles. We are also parents, spouses, friends, caregivers of elderly relatives and some of us take on volunteer commitments in our communities. On top of all of that, it’s important to take care of our own physical, emotional and mental well-being.
It’s no surprise balance among all these priorities is difficult to achieve, if not impossible. Few of us leave work at the office or forget about our personal lives when we walk out the door in the morning. A high percentage doesn’t take enough vacation time, letting it accrue, in spite of feeling exhausted and desperate for some time off. The fear of letting go of control and the image of the potential disaster awaiting our return seems to outweigh the benefits of relaxation and time away. Most people average between two and six weeks vacation per year with few exceptions; careers last on average 50 years with many exceptions because most people can’t afford to stop working.
A different approach
But here is some information that will surprise you — workplace and business demands far exceed the performance demands placed on professional athletes.
Why? Because the approach they take is holistic. Think about this – professional athletes are perceived as being superbly skilled at what they do, but the reality is they only spend about 10 percent of their time actually engaging in their sport and the other 90 percent of their time training in order to perform. Their entire focus is designed around expanding, sustaining and renewing energy through precise routines and rituals in all areas—eating, sleeping, working out, mental preparation and visualization.
There could be a lesson in this for the rest of us hard-working underachievers. Perhaps it’s time we shifted our own approach to managing our lives. Although it seems counterintuitive, could we reduce stress and burnout by working less and spending more time ‘training’, with the result being increased energy which would lead to being more effective in the hours we spend working? If we reduced our work hours, could we get more done?
Related Search: Simply More is an Executive Business Coach and Communication Consultant.
The Four Dimensions
There are four dimensions that consistently influence our energy levels—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Typically, many of us push hard in one or two of these areas and not hard enough or completely ignore the others.
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance. –Brian Tracy
Why not incorporate this ‘training’ into your life by addressing these four areas of your life to build up energy.
A lack of energy is what drags us all down, causing stress and lowering productivity.
For quick energy renewal, try these tips:
- Stretch at your desk a couple of times
- Practice relaxation breathing techniques
- Get outside at least once a day
- Sit in silence for a few moments each day
- Laugh as much as possible
- Be grateful for the big & small things
- Express your gratitude
- Reflect on your day: What was your rose? What was your thorn? What can you do to make tomorrow even more spectacular?
You Can Be Happy Not Matter What by Richard Carlson
- Stress can be a friend – by letting us know beforehand when we are headed away from happiness, away from clear thinking.
- Your past, as it actually exists today, is nothing more than the thoughts you have about it.
- We have choices; in fact, we have a series of “choice points” in any situation.
Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn
- The art of feeling good is not exactly something at which we are highly accomplished, so the goal is to learn how to do it on the spot.
- Look for anything within the situation, or in your immediate surroundings, to appreciate or feel good about.