Slow Work

Slow Work

The concept of work-life balance seems to be a hot topic of conversation.  Since stress is currently the leading cause of long-term illness in the United States, and workers averaging 60 hours a week are at twice the risk of heart attack compared to people who average 40 hours a week, no wonder everyone is trying to find balance.  In addition to long work days, the fast-paced lives we scramble through create behavioral and psychological impacts that include anxiety, tension, and depression.  Alarmingly, the use of energy-enhancing drugs like cocaine and amphetamine have increased in the American workplace by 70% over the past two decades.  This is anything BUT balance!

Our best leaders are present in day-to-day responsibilities, and are conscious of their company’s culture.  When individuals have a source of personal rejuvenation, they better sustain productive levels of energy, and are more satisfied with their work.  As employees, growing mindful of our jobs can mean slowing down our work and allowing ourselves to experience each component of our day, and can lead to much more productive and meaningful output, as well as healthier minds and bodies.  When you clear your mind of the endless to-do’s and pending projects to focus on the task in front of you, you give yourself the freedom to develop more creative solutions.  We know that multi-tasking isn’t an effective approach, but our minds are constantly spinning to try and process other things besides the specific project we’re working on.  When you really focus on one thing at a time, you get to leverage your full brain-power, and think outside the box.

Instead of succumbing to what is known as karoshi in Japan(“death by overtime”), focus on becoming visionary in your purpose, and intentional in your effort to contribute to the healthy growth of your company.  The challenge this week is to work on your ability to choose what you concentrate on.

Practice:  Focus!

  • Want to build more effective relationships with co-workers, partners, and clients? Concentrate on your listening skills during key moments.  Intentionally try not to talk – let them speak their mind, and listen to what they have to say.  Focus on their tone, their non-verbal communication, and try to understand their perspective.
  • To improve your analytical abilities, it’s important to work on becoming more observant and perceptive.  Before you fire off a response email full of questions, take a moment to read through the confusing content again, and try to imagine the sender’s perspective or approach.
  • Enhance your decision-making abilities by becoming less impulsive. Instead of rushing to conclusions, explore multiple options, weigh the pro’s and con’s, and select the best direction to take.