How is your day? Today I want to talk to you about maximising your efficiency by giving you an insight into your psychological energy.
I’ve worked with Executives who are slaves to their diaries. With bulging workloads and expectations on them from either management or themselves, longer hours are the new norm. While this tempo of workload is achieveable in the short term, for example finalising a project, long term it is actually less effective and can impact negatively on your health and personal life.
A study conducted by John Trougakos, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior & Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto showed our brains have a limited pool of psychological energy. John discovered that efforts to control behavior, to perform and to focus draw on that pool of energy. Once that energy source is depleted, we become less effective at everything that we do.
Think about your day and the hours you work. Do you put in long hours, trying to keep ahead of the game? When are you at your most productive? I work best with breaks interspersed. Sandra Bond Chapman Ph.D discusses this is her article Why Your Mind Needs A Break. When you are stressed for long periods of time your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol damage the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Reducing stress is key to maximizing your brain’s performance. Taking a break allows your brain to recharge and gives it the space to flow into your creative side. This is where you find your ‘a-ha’ moments of problem solving.
It’s time for you to work smarter, not harder. Review your workload. Give yourself enough breaks and remember, you have a certain amount of energy in your day. You know when it’s time to stop. Your diary is meant to help your day flow, not be the cause of stress.
Do yourself and your family/self a favour, don’t be a superhero. Take your breaks and leave the office at a reasonable time. Hit the gym, catch up with your friends or get home in time for dinner with the family.
You deserve it!