Written by: Ken Ingram, MQA President TAC-Coaching
Is it me or has something changed over the last five to ten years? Just about everyone I come in contact with is busy. When I ask people “How are you doing?” They say “Great! Really busy! Almost too busy.” Does that sound familiar? Whatever happened to the promise of more leisure and quality time? The so called digital economy with its endless array of devices was suppose to save us time. Instead we find ourselves now plugged in to the world 24/7. Were we hoodwinked ? This is for each one of us who have caught the 24/7 building faster than ever before in the digital economy virus and some of my business ideas for your aliment.
If you were to do a survey I bet that the results would not be surprising since most professionals are plugged in 24/7. Our minds are always working and many of us have become our work. Sound familiar? For sure this type of engagement makes us keen and good at what we do, but ultimately too much of a good thing can lead to a state of perpetual hurriedness. You might even find that you are managing from crisis to crisis and rarely taking time to stop and review your overall goals and objectives. I mentioned this scenario in my last article for Road Builders.
We are so preoccupied with getting the construction of the road, building or bridge built that a multitude of things get overlooked on the job site or workplace. It is as if we are riding a never ending conveyor through a maze of problems in order to solve the challenges that confront us (Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly). In effect we are steamrolling our way towards some destination and do not even realize that we have the power and the opportunity to make better choices by doing things differently.
What can you do differently? Is it even possible that you can do something different? Here are a few thoughts to consider;
1. Learn how to structure your work, in order to more effectively achieve the results that would be of most benefit to you personally and professionally.
2. Consider saying, No to requests that do not fit your immediate priorities. Most people will steal your time if you let them. That does not mean you cannot accommodate them at a later time.
3. Step back and take the time to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. This will help boost your energy level, your focus and give you more clarity in decisions. In essence find a way to unplug.
4. Have some fun because for sure you enjoy your work at least, I hope that you do. Try doing something different, non- stressful, creative, physical. Have some big belly-laughs. Take a page from Santa Claude Ho Ho Ho. It may be strange at first and people might find you a little weird but this is not for them it is for you.
5. Remind yourself of your goals and priorities. What is it that you are working so hard for? Are you spending enough time on the important – rather than the urgent activities in your life? Use a daily check-list to focus on what really matters. Rate yourself daily on a scale of one to ten to measure your success and graph the results on visual wall chart. Maybe even get feedback from someone you respect because sometimes we need a fresh perspective. Getting others to share what they see can help to clarify the actions you need to take. Remember to be open minded because you may not like what you hear.
You need to wonder why? we not only accept the frenzied pace many of us live in but why is it we seem to revel in it. Stress in the work place can be both positive and negative. If it creates a sense of urgency and drives productivity it may not be bad but if it contributes to burn outs, absenteeism and people leaving then it may be time to look at doing something different. One of the of the responsibilities of being a leader is to create an environment that contributes to success and productivity. Otherwise the cost can be enormous, potential poor health, premature death, accidents on the job and even the end of a valued relationships with family and friends.
You may not be aware of it but when you are under stress your brain goes through 4 basic responses:
1. You choose to ignore the situation and do nothing. This will resolve nothing and could escalate into a bigger problem
2. You gripe or the people around you gripe. This is not productive and a complete waste of time and energy.
3.You take action. The best decision to make because it is a proactive response.
4. You give up and quit. This may solve the problem in the short-term but not the long-term. You can expect the same problem or a similar problem to occur in the future.
Solution 3 is the answer I recommend as this takes us right back to the six things that you can do differently. So I would like to conclude by proposing that you spend some time reflecting on these aspects of your organization.
Robert S. Eliott in his book ‘From Stress to Strength’ said ‘When you cannot change the world, you can learn to change your response to it.”
As always we welcome your feedback and the opportunity to share with you our professional development ideas. Do you have the audacity to be the master of your destiny and the road you are on?. Expect the best in 2014.
Ken Ingram, MQA President TAC-Coaching