We live in a culture where work has become life, and it’s slowly killing some people and making others less than human. On this Leadership Success Live Podcast from October 11, 2012 we discussed the problem and how we can take better care of ourselves.
In this discussion you’ll discover:
Shocking stats about stress and burnout
Here are some of the worst:
- 75% of Americans experience physical and/or psychological symptoms related to stress in a given month.
- Money and work are the leading causes of stress (mentioned by three quarters of Americans).
- Over one third (35%) cite jobs interfering with their family or personal time as a significant source of stress.
- Stress causes more than half of Americans (54 percent) to fight with people close to them.
- Workplace stress costs more than $300 billion each year in health care, missed work and stress-reduction.
- Workers who report that they are stressed incur health care costs that are 46% higher, or an average of $600 more per person, than other employees.
So many people are on the road to burnout and don’t even know it.
What is going on here!?
We’ve become obsessed with production and we’re all supposed to get more done in the same amount of time. There always have been and always will be only 24 hours in the day.
Our work hours are longer than ever before but it’s a recent trend, one that seems to have started during/after WWII.
Some more crazy stats:
- 60-hour workweeks can result in a 25% decrease in productivity.
- People who work 11 or more hours a day have a greater than 2x risk of a major depressive episode, compared with people who work the traditional seven to eight hours a day.
- Working 10 or more hours a day resulted in a 60% jump in risk of cardiovascular issues.
- 20% percent of the American workforce suffers from some form of mental disorder, with depression and substance abuse being the most common.
- Suicide rates for 45-to-54-year-olds increased 20% between 1999 and 2004, costing employers $1.3 billion per year. (this one is shocking because these are peak earning years and the sweet spot in many people’s careers)
As leaders, it’s entirely on us
It’s tempting to blame the workplace on these issues but it’s 100% a personal problem. We’ve bought into the lie and see ourselves at little machines with minimum thresholds of output. One result is we’re always on call; it began with basic cell phones and now smartphones have made it worse.
We are determining our personal value in our work production or the rewards we get from it ($$$, recognition from clients, or community) and this is very dangerous.
We feel bad about resting or having “unproductive” hobbies, the very things we need to realign our work-rest balance.
Some practical things we can do to fight back
- Productivity/time management
- many resources on this, but the bottom line is a) get rid of distractions, and b) sit down, focus, and do the work
- Pair short bursts of work with regular breaks (consider 90 or 30 minute increments)
- spending 10 straight hours on something just because you can is bad and will hurt in the long run (I’m terrible with this)
- walk around or do something active for your break … change the part of your brain you’re using
- stop in the middle of tasks and your brain will continue processing
- Establish a daily rhythm
- Physical health: diet, exercise & sleep … make time, make it a priority … only excuse is that it’s not important enough to not make excuses
- Spiritual health: prayer or meditation … even just silence & breathing … relaxing
- Emotional: relationships … invest in ones which we enjoy, ones who aren’t work
- Personal: creative, hobby
- Establish a weekly rhythm
- take one day off each week
- don’t do what you consider work (everyone defines this differently) and do something fun and refreshing to you
This was a fun call with three great questions/comments
- It can be frustrating to “make time” to rest. Sometimes it’s best to make a “to not do” list. All successful people have figured out a way to say no to the wrong things so they can say yes to more of the right things.
- As we get older, things seem to get more complicated. Our jobs demand more, our kids demand more. Unfortunately there is no magic formula to finding more time. We all have 24 hours in the day, and need to be disciplined in how we use that time.
- Time is our most valuable asset. We need to invest it wisely. As leaders of people, we need to help others invest their time wisely too. We can help them find a work-rest balance.
Thanks Matt, Jason and Kevin!
These free, weekly, interactive sessions are for leaders who want to learn, grow, and help create other leaders. People call in to offer opinions, ask questions, and inspire others to live and lead with more success.
Feel free to join us next Thursday.
We’d love to hear your insights and questions.