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Is having a strong work ethic overrated?

Is having a strong work ethic overrated?

Imagine a world where we worshipped a good “rest ethic” as much as we do a strong “work ethic.”  Where we encouraged taking time out to rest and prioritise self care – just as much as we applaud someone’s dedication to hard work. 

In our current culture of rewarding hard work and hustle it seems like a stretch.

But could it be possible that worshipping hard work is holding us back from performing at our best.  Think about how much more energy, creativity and drive you have after you’ve had a few weeks off work.

Yes!

But… taking time out this year has been challenging, I hear you say.

This pandemic has caused the cancellation of almost all holidays and long weekends while piling on a load of extra work for most working professionals (not to mention the added stress of lockdown, adapting to working from home and home schooling.)

So, it’s no wonder that you may be feeling a little exhausted. 

Being tired is one thing… but what impact is it having on your effectiveness at work?

In his research, economics professor John Pencavel found that productivity per hour declines sharply when a person works more than 50 hours a week. After 55 hours, productivity drops so much that putting in any more hours would be pointless.

Fatigue and over working reduces our capacity to problem solve, think creatively, communicate effectively and manage our emotions.

The harder and longer we work – the more the quality and quantity of our work suffers. 

Intuitively we know this. We feel it in our body. We notice our thinking becoming sluggish.  We make silly mistakes and even the simplest of tasks take way longer than it should.

Yet we persist. We uphold our strong work ethic. We push through the fatigue to finish those final few jobs before calling it a day.

I wonder… How would your results be different if you focused more on defining and building a strong rest ethic?

From studying some of the most successful people, I’ve noticed that they work smart and rest hard!

They have rituals and routines in place that support them to ensure they prioritise exercise, good nutrition and sleep.  These are not a ‘nice-to-do’.  They are a non-negatable! Not occasionally when they feel burnt out – but every… single… day.

Successful people know that if they are to function at their best – they need to feel fresh, well rested and full of energy.    

Self-care is not a luxury.  It’s the foundation on which great outcomes are built.  

We need to take time out to decompress, recharge and refocus.  Just like your mobile phone – you work best with a charged battery. 

I know right now you may not be able to enjoy the type of holiday you do most years – but planning time off remains a critical factor in your professional success. One of my clients shared last week that she has scheduled one day off a month, to indulge in a full day just for her.  No work.  No home schooling.  No technology.  No commitments. 

Imagine, how could your work performance be improved by shifting your focus to building a strong rest ethic – to complement your strong work ethic?

What would you start with?

Do you need to book some time off?

Have your work hours stretched into the early evening?

Would building in a morning ritual of meditation or a walk or yoga or journaling be beneficial?

Let’s let go of worshiping hard work and hustle and shift to respecting the need to take care of our mind, body and soul to ensure we do our best work.

LET'S CONNECT

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How to maintain your leadership mojo when things get busy

How to maintain your leadership mojo when things get busy

Got too much on your plate? Feeling overworked, overwhelmed and stressed out?

You are definitely not alone. In our busy world of multiple demands, at work and at home, life can get hectic. Throw in some work travel, extra commitments outside hours or tight deadlines and we can sometimes push it too far and lose our leadership Mojo.

To make matters worse, we women too often put the needs of everyone else before our own. We say yes to that extra commitment, work our butt off to get things “perfect” and “right” or take care of what needs to be done because no one else seems to doing it.

We put everything and everyone ahead of our own needs.

Doing your best work, remaining productive and focused, keeping your mood and emotions in check; these are all vitally important to any leader. To achieve this we need to feel fresh, energised and on our game….. not stressed out and tired!

My question today is “What are you doing to take care of you?”

What are you doing to allow your brilliant best to shine every day at work, even when things get a little busy?

We all know what we should be doing… but are we doing it?

These are questions I have had to ask of myself more than once over the past couple of months with an increasingly busy schedule involving plenty of interstate travel. Early morning flights, long days of workshop facilitation and living out of a suitcase can really disrupt my regular routines.

Too often, when we get busy, the first thing we drop off the to do list is our self care. But it is exactly these times when maintaining our self care rituals and routines are most important.

Here are my personal rules for maintaining my leadership mojo even when things get busy.

1. Keep moving.

Ok… you don’t need me to tell you that exercise is important. It is important for your health and brain function to maximise productivity, creativity and general mood. No one likes a grump around the office!

With my busy schedule, I like to have options. When the weather is fine there is nothing better than an early morning walk to get me set up for a productive day.  But the thing that has made the biggest difference to me this year is a regular Pilates and Yoga practise.   

Have you tried CLASSPASS to access thousands of different classes at studios and gyms in your city and around the world? I LOVE it.  It gives me choice and flexibility and is perfect for my busy lifestyle

When we get busy it is all about keeping it simple, having options and being ok that doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

2. Quality refuelling. 

If you put poor quality fuel in a racing car it doesn’t go well. We are the same. We can’t expect our mind and bodies to perform at their best if we don’t pay them the respect with high quality fuel.

This is about quality whole foods. But of equal importance is keeping hydrated. I had let this one slip over the last couple of months. The easiest solution for this is to always have a water bottle on hand or, my personal favourite of late, a jug of water infused with mint and lemon. Yum!

3. Still the mind. 

There is now proof – thanks to recent research – that meditation and the powerful state of “mindfulness” is good for leadership. Not that I need proof. Intuitively I know that when I make time for even 10 minutes of meditation, I feel calmer and my thinking expands allowing ideas to flow, creative solutions to appear and projects to be completed without quite so much effort.

If you are looking to get started with a little guided meditation, I can recommend the Deepak and Oprah 21 day meditation experience.

4. Say NO

Learn the art of not automatically saying yes to every request. How often have you said yes to something, only to later wonder why you did or, worse still, feel resentful and trapped into doing something you don’t want to do or is not your responsibility? Instead, take you time. Think it through and only commit to those things that are part of your job, of real interest to you or will help you to achieve your career goals.

5. Schedule You time. 

Ladies…. I know many of us are hard wired to put others before ourselves. However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can all too easily end up feeling depleted, burnt out and exhausted. And when this happens we end up with nothing left to give anyone.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

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Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

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