|| Print ||
|Tuesday, June 21, 2011|
BY TOM COX
The whole concept of “worklife balance” may be completely wrong. Rather than a zero-sum game — give up work hours to gain playtime — new research shows we can turbocharge our work time by investing in and prioritizing play.
I first stumbled on this years ago, unknowingly, when I coached a sales manager who was overwhelmed. Erin was getting divorced, moving, selling her home, and trying to manage a sales force that was underperforming. As part of our work, I showed her how to reduce her work hours by 40% while emphasizing a few key activities she’d been avoiding. She retained her sanity — and sales went up 50%.
Other adopters of this emerging science of Energy Management include the Canadian Olympic Team. Their “Own the Podium” program spent $200 million to maximize the number of Canadian gold medals won, and considerable emphasis was placed on teaching athletes Energy Management. ”This allowed the athletes to better manage their emotions, the stress of competition, and their creativity — as well as pure physical performance,” said Al. ”As I researched this — with athletes, astronauts, fighter pilots, Zen archers — over and over we found people who used these techniques to get the most out of their minds and bodies.”
“What I’ve found with clients I’ve worked with,” said Al, “mostly corporate, most of them realize their employees are their most valuable resource, yet their high stress environment creates an unsustainable situation. Executives need to take care of themselves. I’ve worked with international pharmaceutical companies, sportswear firms, and on and on, to create ways for executives to renew themselves, so they don’t burn them out and have to replace them.”
Five Steps to Energy Management
Stop working marathon hours, and start working in “sprints.” If you’re creating a workday of back-to-back meetings, eating lunch at your desk, and having no breaks, you’re destroying your productivity.
After every 90-120 minute “sprint” of work, stop and do an activity from the list of energy-creating activities, to relax and recover. Like a weight lifter who does intense work and then allows time for regeneration, you can literally build your energy reserves by pushing hard and then stopping to regenerate.
Take this pattern of sprint, relax, sprint, relax — and turn it into an unbreakable, sacred ritual. The more you create rituals of behaviors that are good for you, the easier it is for you to do those behaviors without having to summon your will or exercise self-control. It’ll actually be easier to be virtuous than to break the ritual.
Do not multitask during your sprint — stay focused on one activity that demands attention. While the brain can time-split effectively across one low-focus activity (i.e. ironing shirts) while monitoring a stream of low-density information (i.e. watching a baseball game), you literally cannot focus on two demanding tasks at one time. A teacher can help a child with her reading, while scanning the classroom for trouble. However, once the trouble breaks out, that becomes the focus. (Imagine having a crucial talk with your Significant Other about the future of your relationship… and simultaneously, one of you is also working on the company’s annual budget. One or both of those tasks is going to suffer.)
Ultimately, powerful results do not come from grinding ourselves down, burning ourselves out or using ourselves up. Our best performance comes from working in harmony with the rhythmic way our brains and bodies want to work.
Tom Cox is a contributing columnist and business consultant.
|OHSU researchers work on AIDS vaccine|
|Lean in? Not Sabrina Parsons.|
|Oregon agriculture - not just a commodity|
|The cable guy|
|Outside the box|
|WalMart pays legal fees for bribery probe|
|Google ramps up plan to make robots|
|Sales on Cyber Monday reach new heights|
|CNN plans major changes|
|One million new visits to Obamacare website Monday|
|Shanghai teens top international education rankings|
|Los Angeles could ban feeding homeless people|
Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
When the Portland-based manufacturing company Glass Alchemy, Ltd. was first nominated for an Oregon State University Austin Family Business Excellence in Family Business award in 2004, husband-and-wife team Henry Grimmett and Susan Webb-Grimmett, were honored and optimistic about their chances of winning.
Some employers have embraced the use of employment arbitration agreements as a way to manage and mitigate the rising costs, risks and liabilities associated with employment-related claims. Historically, employment arbitration agreements require employees to present employment-related claims, such as employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, harassment, or claims for wages or compensation to an arbitrator, in lieu of proceeding to court.
Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
Boly:Welch was founded in 1986 based on a close connection between Diane Boly and Pat Welch. The two had worked together at another recruitment firm and shared certain core values: passion for their work, a sense of humor, a commitment to their community and a desire to create a healthy, nurturing work environment.
Dunn Carney will host its annual Ag Summit on Jan. 10, 2014 at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville, OR. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Sherri Noxel, Director of the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University College of Business as our Keynote speaker.
The Naa Amerley Palm Education ("NAPE") Foundation recently awarded two more Lane Powell/Lee Nusich Scholarships to deserving students attending institutions of higher learning in Ghana. Including the most recent recipients, a total of 48 scholarships have been awarded to Ghanaian university students since the scholarship foundation started in January 2009.
Unitus Community Credit Union, a Portland-based credit union with more than 80,000 members, has announced the addition of Brian Alfano as Vice President of Member Services. Alfano will provide strategic leadership over Unitus’ member experience to ensure consistency across delivery channels, including branch operations, member support, and products and services.