Increase your odds of success…by working less

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The world has permanently shrunk itself now that we are all connected 24/7.  But the reality is you can’t be on all the time. Even the energizer bunny’s batteries eventually run out.   Traditionally we have thought of the weekend as our downtime, but even there, flexible work schedules and home offices have shifted much of the modern world onto a more fluid calendar.  And though we might feel like we have more freedom, 24/7 access is impacting our productivity and ultimately your success.

Now for a disclaimer…It is true that when you find a job you love you never really work a day in your life.  But that doesn’t make you immune to natural rhythms. Let’s just assume everyone has found their perfect job.  That eliminates anyone from thinking these three suggestions don’t apply to you.

1. Take Your Blinders off so You can See more

When you force yourself to step away from your work it gives you the opportunity to see the bigger picture.   Think about how many times you step away from something that is stumping you and come back to it later to find the solution right there in front of you and you simply didn’t see it.

When you aren’t nose down buried in your business you are more likely to see things from a broader viewpoint and perspective.  Often new ideas come from a completely different industry than your business.  Think about how many companies have benefits from the initiatives Toyota pioneered in lean manufacturing? You have to take the time and make the effort to step away.

2. Your Body needs Sleep

There is lots of research that supports the negative effects of not getting enough sleep. Despite all of that data, we are all sleeping less and less each year.   There are lots of contributing factors to this and probably the most obvious are our smart phones, tablets and other electronics.   Though we have been watching TV for years before going to bed, research now suggests that today’s brighter screens are actually tricking our brains into thinking it is day time and making it harder to actually fall into a restful sleep.

Lack of sleep contributes to a host of drainers not only on your business but your health.   Being forgetful, clumsy, cranky and short fused are not qualities that build a successful business.  Worse yet things like depression, diabetes, hypertension, and a weak immune system could have life threatening impacts above and beyond business impacts.  Lack of sleep contributes to every one of these and more. We can all function on different amounts of sleep but somewhere around 6.5 hours seem to be the minimum.  If you are getting less than that you might want to make some adjustments. If you’re having troubling making that happen – try treating it like an experiment for a month and see if it makes an impact for you.

3. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

Bobby McFerrin had everyone singing or whistling this tune over quarter century ago.  In business there are always going to be issues that cause stress.  But as a business owner or leader you can’t allow those issues to consume you.  You have to make some time to not worry and just be happy.  Do something fun.  Take up a hobby you have been thinking about.  Go for a bike ride or long walk on a regular basis.  Block some extra time with family or friends you enjoy spending time with.

Intentionally committing to some extracurricular activities that are outside of your work environment makes it much easier to reflect on all the things you can be thankful for.   Too often we are so wrapped up in thinking about what isn’t working perfectly we block out all the things that are working in our businesses and in our lives.

The resulting bump in your positive attitude can have immense impacts on you, how you think and on the people around you.

These are only three suggestions to boost your odds of being more successful when you work.   I am sure there are many more, but these seem to resonate with many of the business owners we come in contact with.  “All Work and No Play” may make Jack a dull boy, but the real impacts are a lot bigger – don’t let it affect your life and your business too!

What are your thoughts on this?  Is there a big idea we’re missing here?  Which of these resonates with you most?   As always we appreciate your comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

2 thoughts on “Increase your odds of success…by working less”

  1. Well said and great thoughts Chris. It would be difficult for anyone who is convicted and passionate about their work or serving others to not see themselves struggling with anyone of the 3 well described points. Thankfully I personally know I struggle with these items, some more than others and I am willing to keep trying to improve. I will admit that the sleep is a must & wow I struggle with that. I love the work, but I love the play & social time as well so balancing requires planning, so I’m planning. I have experienced the positive effects of stepping away and fresh perspective and you right Chris it’s worth it. I have also experienced the benefits of health and sleep and my performance improves. So I’m continually working to improve.

  2. Chris says:

    Curt,

    Thanks for your thoughts and perspective. I think we all are challenged with these at times. It is good to hear you have been working on all three of them, it is a process. Keep up the good work.

    Chris

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