We’re starting to move at the speed of technology.
Technological fixes are helping us to do things more efficiently – sometimes exponentially so. And there’s no way of opting out of adopting these tools. We know everyone else is looking at them too – and getting left behind is not an option.
Natural human efficiency is increasingly enmeshed with the technological tools of efficiency. It’s blurring the lines between what can reasonably be expected of a human and the kind of productivity that is machine-based.
So all of a sudden we’re operating at warp speed, partly held up by technology, partly dragged unnaturally along by it. The upshot can be burnout. Here are a few suggestions for how to avoid it.
Build in a culture of logging off
One aspect of today’s advanced technological environment is 24hr connectivity thanks to mobile devices. Resist! And encourage your teams to do the same. Don’t fire out emails at the weekend, even if you occasionally allow yourself to work then.
Earth your mind
Our brains are whipped into a frenzy by technology. Sitting for five minutes in a meditation session can do wonders for stilling the crackle. And if you think ‘What can five minutes achieve?’, try it: even five minutes can be chasteningly difficult.
Setting the pace is not always necessary
It is important as leaders that we set a good example and sometimes that involves keeping things progressing at an intense pace. But only sometimes. While an intense pace is appropriate at certain times, it is entirely inappropriate at others. Don’t crack the whip out of habit. And if you can’t help it, ask yourself if you’re afraid of something. What do you think will happen if you let this project develop organically?
Avoid the set piece ‘How are you doing?’ question
Don’t make ‘How are you doing?’ a question that you only roll out during 1:1s because 1:1 protocol requires it. Checking in about our team members’ state of mind and wellbeing should enter the casual currency of your dialogue with them.
Take the time to prep even when things are hectic
When things are already hectic, verging on chaotic, it can seem like an easy time win to immediately assent to a request without properly assessing its extent. You just optimistically hope it’ll be OK and, hey, you haven’t wasted any time weighing it up. Big mistake. Assessing the size of the task – the nature of the beast – is always going to be part of the task anyway. So you’re making a start by doing so. And even if you decide you can’t take it on, you can help ensure it is assigned to the right person with enough bandwidth
Keep on delegating
A little like the previous point, we can sometimes feel we’re too busy to delegate and that explaining the task will take as much time as doing it yourself – or longer. That’s panic talking.
Fill your social calendar
And that includes weekday evenings, not just the weekend. If you make social commitments, you simply cannot be working. And that is so important, because work will seep into everything if you give it half a chance.