Over the past 18 months, the number of leaders who have described their teams as being burnt out and needing "recovery' from the preceding 18 months is truly unprecedented. Can you think of a time where there has been such rapid, multi-faceted change in almost every aspect of human life: health, financial, relationships, work, economy, politics, technology . . . ??
It's time to simplify and focus on recovery and on-going well-being. Don't lull yourself into false complacency. "I'm fine, you're fine." Right? Nope. That's the thing about chronic stress and resiliency. It takes its toll often in unseen and unheard ways, but 2020 will be affecting us and our children for decades to come. Whether you believe it or not.
What have we discovered? AKA what have we finally come to understand (and believe)?
Multi-tasking is not possible if you are looking for quality, effectiveness or accuracy.
Work-life balance is not about leaving a few hours early on a Friday, or coming in late after an oil change. It is a symbiotic flow of managing time that creates a healthy environment (with clear boundaries) for work, pleasure, and self-care to take place in a way that balances effectiveness in all areas.
Money is not the primary motivator. It's table stakes. Healthy relationships with leaders and co-workers, enjoyment in the work and a positive culture that focuses on learning and service are far more valuable.
So with all that we have learned (finally accepted?) over the past 36 months of constant transition and evolution, how do we continue our personal journey's of recovery and well-being? Like most things, slow and steady wins the race. What you do every day has more impact than a 2 week beach vacation once a year. Although that should definitely also be part of the equation. We need recovery from life challenges every day We need to prioritize well-being every day several times a day.
Three Actions for Daily Recovery & Wellbeing
Focus. And Refocus. Sometimes hourly. What is most important? What will get me closer to what I need and want? Will this matter tomorrow, next week, or next year? In a world that is sending millions of attention stealing stimuli per minute, constantly assess and stay vigilant to what is important.
Simplify. Everything. First, for the overachievers in the room, you cannot complete all 15 items on your 'to do list.' You can't. Because core wellness things like taking a shower, eating and chewing your meal for good digestion, and driving in a safe manner will take time that is not accounted for on your to do list. Furthermore, productive time spent reflecting and planning which leads to more creative effective solutions also takes time. What are the 3 things that you want to do to day (work, family, play, self-care all fit in this same bucket)? Where can you simplify your life (hiring a housecleaner, decreasing your subscriptions, going digital, etc.)? Time cannot be created. It's a law of physics. Accept it and manage to it.
80 / 20 Rule. If you spent 2 hours being incredibly effective (say 80%) or 6 hours being somewhat effective (say 20%), which would you choose? You may be choosing the latter every day. What do you need to do (self-care) to give your all (productively, efficiently, and creatively) for a shorter period of time? Your boss will be thrilled with a unique solution versus scheduling another meeting to continue to discuss the problems over and over. You know this is true. But in order to perform for 2 hours at that level, you need to take 4 hours to care for yourself and your needs. That may be your relationships (never being late for a Sally's basketball game again); your health (taking a Noon yoga break is more important than any other meeting on your calendar); or your hobbies (how many times have great ideas come to while doing something else that you enjoy?).
That's it. Focus on these three things every day, and your well-being and recovery capabilities (resilience) will be unmatched!