Why are you so busy? Redefining success

I was making notes to share and then came across an article by Guy Kawasaki. He summarises this brilliantly in his article 'Let's stop the glorification of busy' So I've included his highlights along with some personal comments.

1. Redefine success. There's no prize for working the most hours per week or making the most money. At the end of our lives, we're all about the same amount of dust, so the question is how much joy you've brought into people's lives and how much have you made the world a better place.

I've spoken previously that my way of dealing with pain in my personal life was working hard – it wasn't for the money, but to stop myself thinking. I know many people feel that work is the most important aspect to their life, then they lose their job and find they no longer have any identity. Too much work can also lead to the second point …

2. Avoid burnout. Burnout, stress and depression are worldwide problems. At Arianna's Third Metric conference in 2013, she learned that burnout is not only affecting Americans but also workers in Germany, the United Kingdom, China and the rest of the world. Working harder doesn't necessarily mean better results — in fact it can have the exact opposite effect.

Burnout can affect so many and it leads to stress, depression and anxiety. We need to treat our bodies at least as well as our car, to make sure we don't run out of energy (fuel) and give it a regular service. With old cars we need to let the engine cool down, it won't go on for ever. If you want a Career MOT get in touch.

3. Nurture your well-being. Make time to take care of yourself in terms of exercise, meditation, music, art and family life — this isn't selfishness, it's good sense. My escape valve is hockey. I play hockey four to five times a week. I also ride a stationary bike and do some yoga four times a week. And I'm not sure all this is enough!

I like exercise – I'll return to the gym once I'm given the go ahead but for now it's walking out in the countryside.  I also think this includes being mindful, and paying attention to the things we do on autopilot.

4. Sleep your way to the top. Get more sleep. Not getting enough sleep is associated with health risks and higher stress levels. Every element of your life can be improved by getting the proper amount of sleep. Mea culpa: this is an area that I need to improve because I only sleep six hours per night.

BBC Radio 4 focused on the need for sleep and our body clock. There's lots about this online including this link. When I lost over 10 stone in weight is was partly down to making sure I go enough sleep as it is through sleep that our body repairs itself. We also need to prepare for sleep and not use our mobile phones as alarm clocks and check out emails before bed. It's better to read a proper book or get a kindle paperwhite which is not back lit and so doesn't affect our body clock and sleep patterns.

Bill Clinton is quoted as saying "Every important mistake I've made in my life I've made because I was too tired."

5. Take a digital detox. We all see the people in restaurants spending their time focused on a screen instead of the faces in front of them. When's the last time you turned off the cellphone and focused 100 percent on the people you're with? Challenge yourself and your loved ones to turn off the digital interruptions. The email will be there when you turn your phone back on.

This can be so hard to do, but its better in all sorts of ways to not be always on. It's such easier to respond to emails in blocks and we don't have to always pick up – we can change our voicemail message to say we when we will next switch our phones back on.

Useful facts. The average smart phone user checks their emails every 6.5 minutes, that's 150 times a day. The average knowledge worker spends 28% of their time dealing with email.

6. Keep learning. We learn many of our life lessons from our parents, relationships with our spouse and our children. We may not have appreciated or understood all the lessons our parents shared but remembering the advice can shed light on a difficult challenge you're facing. Learning shouldn't stop when you're out of school — indeed, that's when learning may truly begin.

I read recently that each evening we should have learnt something new  to make sure we develop and grow. Learning does not need to just be intellectual work but can also be learning about a topic of interest or about ourselves.

7. Listen to your inner voice. Have you ever had a hunch about something, ignored it and in retrospect you knew that you should have followed it? We all have. The next time this happens, listen to your gut feelings and be in touch with the perspective of your own thoughts.

So we can challenge ourselves to do this.

8. Act like a child. Spend time with your kids or grandkids and see life through their eyes at a museum or art gallery. Take a trip to your bucket list location that you've always wanted to see. Every action doesn't have to advance your ability to earn money or exercise power.

Wonder – it's wonderful to see things in new ways and to do things just or fun – build a sandcastle, kcik a pile of leaves in the autumn, just go and skip down the road for a bit. What could you do today? We can see paintings as an app on our iPad but we see so much more when we stand and properly look at a painting.

9. Find solitude. Mediation helps relieve stress and helps us tap our inner voice. If you don't like being with yourself, how can you expect others to like being with you? Many of my best ideas have come to me when I am driving alone. I've often thought that my creativity has declined because I do not take long drives as often!

It may be mediation, or it may be yoga or a walk in the country. How comfortable are you with being alone? I personally get great ideas when I'm walking, it gives my subconscious time to work on things.

Henry David Thoreau – 'me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow'

10. Give back to your community. Being a compassionate person and helping others can help solve some of society's biggest problems. Find a way that you can share your unique talents or time with a local shelter, an elderly home or at your children's school.

I'm now a trustee with MatchMothers, I also volunteer with Cheltenham Science and Literature Festivals. I've been involved in other voluntary organisations in the past and always gain so much from my involvement.

Studies by Wharton Professor, Adam Grant have found that those who give their time and effort to others end up achieving more success than those who don’t.

As you can see, opening up to this third metric, thriving, touches many parts of our lives. To tell you the truth, on a scale of one through ten where ten is doing a great job with this list, I'd give myself a seven. But everyone has to start somewhere.

The question is, Are you ready to stop the glorification of busy and start redefining success?

Any thoughts on this? I'd love you to comment below.

Published On: November 2nd, 2014 / Categories: Career Management, Inspiration, Personal Development /

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