- I rarely see my friends.
- I have aging parents who require a great deal of care, and it's difficult to find the time.
- I often check email or get calls for work outside of normal business hours.
- The relationships I have with family, spouse or friends are difficult right now.
- I don't sleep enough or well, so coffee (or other caffeine) is my best friend all day.
The Economist looked at the data from OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries and found that the more productive workers were those who spent less time in the office. Lifehacker takes it one stop further and puts an actual number on how many hours we work before we begin to see diminished results - it’s about 30 hours.
Who is the Enemy? According to one of my favorite writers Steven Pressfield, in his great little book Do the Work, there are three enemies:
- Resistance (aka our self): fear, self-doubt, procrastination, addiction, distraction, timidity, ego, self-loathing, perfectionism… okay that's enough
- Rational thought: using logic to help you hide from your best self
- Friends and family who tell you that's just the way it has to be
- Everyone else is working long hours so I have to as well. Why? What will really happen to you? You could get fired... and end up in a more sane place. You could get your work done with more quality and focus and model how to have a life to others.
- What if I leave and no one notices? What if I'm not needed? If the work you are doing is irrelevant you are not needed, regardless of how many hours. Better question is what would make you needed in a positive way?
- What if I lose this job and the awesome salary I have? Trading money for hope and health isn't good for anyone, your place at work or you.
As a leader, I have days that I'm off kilter and unclear, just like you do. It always seems to follow a period of intense activity, not just work stuff but also includes things I love. To stop and listen is a gift I find difficult to practice. My head, heart and health pay me back and stop me when I ignore quiet. As a leader, I must model and help my learners and my team remember to stop, listen and appreciate. I must also model asking for help from others, so I can also see the light of servant leadership driving hope.
Here are some other ideas:
- Just like on projects, if I'm clear what my purpose is in my work I am better at weathering the frustration. Why does the job exist? What does it bring to the world? Why does it matter? I teach workshops to people all over the country, but I like to believe I help people get from where they are to where they want to go. I rarely hear how it turned out. When people do share with me what they've kept from our discussions, my heart sings. Better yet, knowing that it is happening can help me handle the insignificant distractions of email, airports and grumpy people. Use a quick email to challenge everyone to reply all with something they've learned from someone else that has improved their sense of purpose.
- Steven Pressfield warns us that Resistance is always there, waiting to strike and hold us back. Any act that gets us thinking about our higher work (purpose) will always bring Resistance to us. Ask every one on your team to find a Steven Pressfield quote on the web and post it on their cube somewhere where others can see it and ask about it.
- Challenge each member of the team to build a Purpose Statement and proudly post that next the Steven Pressfield quote. The rule is it has to have three verbs and a noun (a few connecting words are okay as well). Mine is I ignite, affirm and sustain learning in self and others. Share yours as an example before you challenge your team.
- Schedule our Power of YOU online or live workshop for your team and invite the people you'd like to work more closely with to attend as well.