How to boost your productivity by recharging your batteries

Our careers are more demanding than ever, you find yourself doing the job of 2-3 people at times and feel like you can't afford to unplug from your phone while you're on vacation.We live in a society that encourages overwork and treats it as a signal of passion, commitment and productivity. There’s a sense of heroic self-sacrifice in our culture and the more hours we put it, the more success we’re expecting. Stress and being busy seems to be the new status symbol. However, we’re in the midst of a global epidemic of stress and burnout, costing trillions of dollars in healthcare and productivity. 

Chronic exhaustion, fast food meals and no time for play won't pave the path to fulfillment, that's for sure. However, when you feel your best, you will be the most productive, happy, and hence successful. Start taking time to recharge and you'll be surprised on how much more productive and happy you'll be.

My absolute passion is rock climbing. I don't even know where to start on why I love climbing so much. First, it is challenging. I've often looked at a wall and thought it must be impossible to climb, just using the tiny little holds that the rock formations offer. Then I got hooked and tried it over and over again, until I made it all the way to the top. Also, it is a tremendous work-out that doesn't feel like one. 

The best part of climbing is that you have to be really focused and be in the present moment. It allows me to quiet my thoughts, forget about my to-do list for a moment and just enjoy the here and now. I love being out in nature and climbing has brought me to beautiful spots on this earth I didn't even know about. I love recharging in nature, getting off the beaten path, having no cell phone reception for a while and just being outside with my best friends. Such trips have allowed me to recharge my batteries, gain new perspectives and see solutions to challenges that I didn't see before.

Take a moment and think about what stress is costing you. What do you do to recharge? You don't have to climb a 1000-foot wall to disconnect. Meet up with your friends, have a date night with your spouse or simply go for a walk and recharge in nature. Most importantly, be present and fully enjoy whatever it is you do.


What's really missing?

How often do you procrastinate tasks at work and find yourself looking at the clock, waiting for the workday to be over?  At the same time you feel stressed and are not sure how to keep up with all the projects and deadlines that are piling up.  You can’t wait for the weekend to come or for the next vacation. You feel like your work and life are quite out of balance. You’re not alone.  More than 50% of employees in the US are dissatisfied with their current job and list a lacking work-life balance as the highest contributing factor. This topic often comes up when talking to my clients and peers. Once we dig deeper into this issue and what work-life balance really means to them, something interesting happens. Often, it’s not the amount of time that they’re spending at work, rather it is how much their values are respected and aligned with their organization’s vision. The people I talked to have something in common, they are high achievers, motivated and hard working, yet they strive for something more. They often think that the primary solution to their imbalance is to have less responsibility and more time for themselves. Granted, time for family and self-care is often hard to achieve, however, our conversations often reveal that there is a disconnect in their values (freedom, flexibility,…).

How do you know whether your organization and job is a good fit or not? What I’ve seen happening repeatedly is that people who are engaged in their job still have energy at the end of the workday and thus are able to be present with their environment around them. They have the energy to work out, go out for dinner, meet friends, have fun with the family, to name a few. 

Of course, this is not a black and white situation. Just because you find yourself exhausted after a long workday in a job that you love, doesn’t mean that your values are not aligned. It’s an overall symptom that, over time, manifests itself in either feeling tired, stressed and maybe even burned out. This is very different from going through the natural cycle of rising and falling energy levels that every worker experiences.

Have you been asking yourself on how to implement a better work-life balance? What does your organization do to keep employees engaged and motivated? How do you as an employee show up at work and how do you know that your values are truly aligned with your company’s goals? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.