A few years ago I attended a workshop designed to equip employees to perform as “corporate athletes.” It was a powerful few days that centered on the idea that human beings need four sources of energy to operate at their best: physical (sustainability), emotional (security), mental (self-expression) and spiritual (significance).
The workshop replaced the old concept of work as a “marathon,” with the image of work as a series of “short sprints.” I left this workshop with the information necessary to improve my performance and resilience on the “sprints,” and the resolve to make some lifestyle changes.
I was reminded of this workshop recently while reading, “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working” by Tony Schwartz, who wrote that “organizations undermine high performance by forever seeking to get more out of their people” instead of implementing ways to get them “freed, fueled and inspired to bring the best of themselves to work every day.”
The research by Schwartz and his colleagues at the Energy Project affirmed and advanced the actions for sustainable high performance I had been introduced to years earlier. These actions included:
- Adequate sleep: We require 7-8 hours of sleep each night to be fully rested.
- Take regular vacations: We are healthier and more productive when we get a break.
- Regular exercise: A daily mix of aerobic and strength training is desirable.
- Eat regularly: Never skip breakfast or lunch, and eat a diet of low-fat proteins and complex carbohydrates.
- Take regular breaks: After 120 minutes of effort, take a break.
- Focus on one thing at a time: Multi-tasking is ineffective
In reviewing these recommendations, I was saddened to acknowledge that some of my good intentions have evaporated over time…but it’s not too late. Any advice for me on things you are doing to be better equipped for success on the corporate track and what makes them stick?