Feeling the Pressure? by:
Kurt Weber (VP of Sales, North America)
Every day we feel the pressure to give more to our work, often at the expense of our well-being. This is compounded by the intrusive nature of email, tweets and the web that don’t adhere to “8 to 5” work hours. We try to work harder to stay competitive but before long, fatigue sets in, affecting our work quality and reducing our energy levels. It is a downward spiral as we get worn out both physically and mentally.
I’ve been there. Fifteen years ago I worked all day then well into the night. I missed events at my kid’s school. My weight ballooned by 35 lbs and my cholesterol levels were rising. A late night visit to the emergency ward followed by surgery was my wake-up call. With the changes I was then forced to make, I was able to reverse the direction of my own downward spiral. Here are the lessons I learned:
- Make time to invest in your health. For me it was running and biking. You may find walking, swimming, hiking or, for my Canadian friends, perhaps dog sledding or hockey. Stick to it so it becomes a habit. The CDC, WHO and the AMA all recommend a minimum of 30 minutes (and up to 90 minutes) of exercise per day. Sounds exhausting but I guarantee you will actually gain energy over time. I found that after a while I required an hour less sleep every night – so my net time investment in getting healthy was zero!
- Have the courage to manage your work in-basket by saying ‘no’ when appropriate. If you are asked to take on more work, respond by asking what should be re-prioritized in order to rebalance your workload.
- Give it your all at the office but learn to shut the work drawer when you go home. Don’t bring your work home mentally when you really should be focused on your family. A friend summed it up best, “Be there when you are there”.
- Leverage technology to your advantage (I wrote a blog a few months ago on this). Avoid rush-hour commutes by working from home when you can. Ask your boss – the worst he could say is “no”.
- Work more efficiently. Look for ways to get things done faster – like making a phone call instead of writing a long-winded email. And, really, do you need to attend every meeting you are invited to?
Take it from someone who knows, this advice is win/win for you and for your business. You will have more stamina and your mind will be sharp and clear. When the time comes to tackle a daunting project that demands extra effort, you’ll be in a better position both mentally and physically to produce the kind of quality results you expect from yourself.