Believe it or not – BURNOUT is not a life requirement.
When I was in business school at Kellogg School of Management, we took a course that challenged us in time management. We have all heard about how time management is critical. As women, we know that all too well. We have our PHDs in it.
However, this class took it a bit further. I remember an exercise where the class was spilt in groups. Each group had to find the most efficient way to have all hands touch a set of 6 balls. Each attempt had to be timed and after 30 minutes – the fastest times were recorded for each group. For 30 minutes, we all went nuts trying to beat the time of the previous attempt. It was a head scratcher.
After the exercise was over, the professor proceeded to talk about how to get your staff to get more done in a smaller amount of time. Of course, we were we all intrigued to hear about this “silver bullet.” He asked one group of five to stand up as an example. He asked one group member to hold the tennis balls in one hand. He then had each group member place one hand to stack on one another – so there would be five hands stacked on top of one another. In one swoop, the five hands would slide down and touch all of the tennis balls at the same time. Easy Peasy! So Simple but no group solved the challenge.
The lesson was that “any task” can be cut in half. ANY! This is VERY different from taking a short cut. Take any task -personal or at work and commit to a time where at all costs – you stop. It does require using the clock a lot until it becomes second nature but I guarantee it will work.
Now let’s apply that to real life. I started using it immediately after that class. In the work world, that meant holding shorter meetings because not every meeting needs to be an hour. Commit to a meeting for only 30 minutes and watch everyone work hard to complete the goal in half of the time. Shorten deadlines and watch how they will be met.
How do we apply that everyday life?
It may sound bit crazy but this can be applied to the most routine things in our lives that suck up time. Once we master how to “cut the time in half” for some things, then there will be more time for things that matter.
- Be laser-focused on the task at hand and decide to give it no more than 20 minutes. See what happens.. It could be organizing your desk, household chores, planning your child’s birthday party…Anything..
- Become astute at making decisions quickly. Get comfortable with it at work and at home. Sometimes you “have to call it”. It’s often not that complicated. You will know when a decision TRULY requires more time. Other than those instances, get in the habit of avoiding “analysis paralysis.”
- Try to remember that you are human and not a machine. We are living our lives at the pace of machines and at some point, it is not going to end well. Know when to call it a night or a day. It’s just a matter of time before we short-circuit. What do I mean by that? Our health will take a hit. It will..It’s just a matter of time.? Humans are not designed to work 24 hours a day – so stop it! Fatigue is not a measure of success. A balance of health, love and prosperity is the tri-fecta. But nothing matters if your health fails.
- Make time to do NOTHING! What?!?! That means putting “NOTHING” time in your calendar. This NOT where you cut in half. Use every minute of that down time. Once you start “cutting everything in half” – you will see that there will be time to do NOTHING. Doing nothing means doing something non- work related that allows your brain to relax. For me, that is looking through glossy fashion magazines. I am old-school and still like to feel the pages of a magazine when it comes to fashion. For others, it might mean getting lost in a novel, watching reality TV, talking a nap, taking a walk or best of all – sitting in silence.
- At home, work or at play – remember Gratitude. When GRATITUDE is a mindset, it creates an immediate different perspective. Be grateful for that job – whether you like it or not. Too much laundry for the family – how great is it to have a family..Too much work? How nice it is to be employed? Hate going to the gym – how great is it to be able to afford a gym. Be grateful that you can exercise at all.
- Happiness is a mindset! Burnout will bring you down and rob you of feeling happy and content.. Don’t let that happen. Manage your time and your behavior and it will all begin to fall into place.