We all lead busy lives – but do we have the tools to deal with them properly?
I’ve just gotten home from a two-day leadership course that work put on for those who were promoted back in November. Good times were had (and I’m happy that my ‘bad’ eating was kept to a minimum). I learned a lot. And talked even more.
Our sessions were broad, and focused on the ‘soft skills‘ needed to start managing, leading and coaching staff. These built on skills we’d already demonstrated to get the roles we’re in – arming us with suggested approaches to common issues (cue the “sh!t sandwich“).
But one of the sessions – a two hour talk by Robert Simon, PhD from the Resilience Institute – was particularly helpful from a personal perspective. The talk was very much aimed at arming us with tools to deal with busy lives. I was holding out for this part of the course in particular after some very poor testing results.
Testing results? Before flying up to Auckland for the training, we were asked to complete a survey which asked various questions on how we act and feel at work, in our personal lives, and how we balance the two. Answers were given on a scale of 1 -5, depending on how much we agree (or disagree) with the statement we were being asked to consider. At the end of the survey, you are presented with a tidy one page summary.
On this summary sheet, there are various categories and your ability to deal with them is ranked as a green light (i.e. healthy), yellow light (i.e. okay, but room for improvement) and red light (i.e. this needs to change ASAP). I got no green lights in my results. Of 40-ish of us doing the training, I only saw one other person without at least 1 green dot (most had 2-3+).
We were also given an overall ratio of our resilience (coping) ‘assets’ against our ‘liabilities’ (i.e. the things that hold us back from being healthy). An ideal ratio was 2:1. Twice as many assets as liabilities. My ratio was 1.02:1. Positive, but margin or error says I might even be in a deficit.
The fine print at the bottom of my results suggested that – if I had red lights in any one (or more) of three particular categories – I should seek professional help. Of course, I had one of ’em on top of the generally sh!t ratio.
That’s not good.
Not good at all.
So when Robert stood up to talk, I listened (it helped that he’s gorgeous). Walking away from the session, I feel better prepared for the times I will want to throw my computer out the window when our filing system crashes, or when getting another report for review. They’re quick fixes which will help on a day-to-day basis.
But I feel like I have tools to help build healthier routines, to help avoid the situations which need the quick fixes. This’ll take a little bit longer – and more conscious effort – but includes basic breathing exercises and meditation, understanding my body’s circadian rhythm to plan my day to my advantage, and booking in regular breaks for ‘me time’. These are all obvious things. Of course getting into the routine of taking time out for yourself should lower stress levels (ignoring the fact that it means you have more work to get on with once you’re back). But having someone tell me that this isn’t just for hippies – it’s backed by science – made something in my brain click from ‘skeptical’ to ‘curious’.
I’m going to give a few of his pointers a go.
So, if you see me with my eyes closed on the bus, I (hopefully) haven’t fallen asleep – I’m just breathing it out and clearing my mind to make sure work stays at work and home stays at home. If I snore, just poke me.