I’ve recently returned from the career adventure of a lifetime, working in Antarctica as a leadership faculty team member with Homeward Bound Projects. Being part of this incredible group of leaders has broadened my view on how I support my clients using the skills, capabilities and experience I have.
While Antarctica is not the final frontier or a strange new world, the otherworldly beauty and landscape took everyone away from their normal day-to-day routine, habits and thought patterns. This enabled a sole focus on the work we were there to do (faculty and participants alike) without having to manage:
- Competing priorities, such as projects, work, family;
- Distractions, such as emails, shiny objects, social media; and
- Interruptions, such as phone calls, unscheduled conversations and enquiries, chatty co-workers and the bustle of noise from modern life in a city.
It provided time to digest, reflect and assess, which we often tell ourselves we are too busy to do.
Getting clear on where our time and energy is eroded and how to create new habits to counter this effect is a worthy investment.
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Here are a few suggestions that will make a difference to your energy, mood, productivity and achievements.
Turn off your phone
I’m not the first person to suggest we consciously manage our phone use. Not having Wifi for three weeks while in Antarctica was blissful, however, not to begin with. I noticed how many times in the first three days I would reach out for my phone. Arianna Huffington, chief executive officer of Thrive Global, has actually developed a nightly ritual where she puts her phone to bed every night, saying this habit forces her to focus on her wellbeing and makes her much more productive when she wakes up.
If turning off your phone feels like a stretch or is a concern due to having others’ who rely on you (such as children or parents), try turning off email notifications and audible alerts.
Invest in sleep
In her Ted Talk ‟How to succeed? Get more sleep”, Huffington makes a compelling ‘why’ for getting more sleep, backed by her experience, research and studies by leading experts. Shifting our mindset on sleep is an important first step towards a more joyful, fulfilled and productive life. The boast that ‘I only need four hours sleep a night’ is both delusional and chips away at our emotional and physical health and wellbeing.
Like sleep, nutrition is an important cornerstone of our health. Nutritionist Vicky Ellenport shares three simple things we can do today to keep us healthy. Eat more (a lot more) fruit and vegetables, ditch all processed foods and drink more water. These simple habits will be a gift that keeps on giving.
Take time to notice your daily habits. In the same way a nutritionist will ask clients to create a detailed food diary to understand food habits, monitor and note your daily habits and activities for a week to get a true picture of how you spend your time. What we say ‘no’ to is often more powerful than what we say ‘yes’ to. What would you change? Add? Delete?
Assess your current priorities and check to see if they are aligned with your values and aspirations. Are you spending your time and energy on what matters most? It’s easy to delay the life we want to be living by telling ourselves when I am _________ then I will be ___________ (fill in the blanks).
Monitor the levels of joyfulness every day at work, at home and at play. I dare you to have a joyful personal and professional life filled with love and laughter. What would it take?