Despite the new ‘flexible’ world of working, many of us still find ourselves living in a workaholic culture. You can blame it on the pandemic and the lack of separation between work and home, stretching deadlines, lack of staff etc. But the truth is most of our generation (70’s and 80’s babies) have grown up believing that late nights at our desks and ever-expanding to-do lists is perfectly okay.
We witnessed our mums and dads getting home after 9pm from the office, self-medicating on wine and whiskey, dragging themselves to bed late and getting up at 6am to start the whole cycle over again. It was just a part of life. Work was supposed to be hard. You were supposed to be stressed, miserable and permanently on the cusp of alcoholism. Turns out, that’s not quite so true.
We’re the last of the generation who’ve grown up believing in loyalty to a company, over loyalty to a family. We’re the last ones willing to slog our guts out, working well beyond the 5:30pm finish to get shit done and keep a business going, or so it seems to us anyway. The younger generations have a very different idea of what the world of work should look like. They clock off on time.
They don’t work beyond their designated hours unless they really have to get something done – working late is not a normal state of affairs for them. They’re not loyal to a company; they’re loyal to a paycheque and a benefits package. They’re loyal to the flexibility a company can give them. We may not agree with their work ethic (dyed in the wool workaholics that we are) but we do agree that prioritising our health over our job is definitely a good idea, especially as we start to get older.
It may seem unbelievable to us but prioritising our self-care can help us to become more productive, get more done and strive to finish on time, just like our younger colleagues. In today’s blog we’re going to focus on some self-care productivity tips that can get us started on the right path towards prioritising ourselves without feeling bad that we may be neglecting our work. We need to change our mindset to move forward and embrace a healthier future for ourselves.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
If you’ve even so much as looked at a woman’s magazine or ever read an article on workplace stress then you’ll already know that practicing self-care is essential for maintaining your physical health. If we don’t look after our bodies as a priority then we won’t just see the effect on our physiology but on our mental and emotional health too.
Eat healthy foods, stay well hydrated and give your body the chance to regularly rest and recharge. Getting regular exercise will aid memory and cognitive functions. Looking after your basic physical needs is the number one rule of self-care.
Getting enough sleep is also really important for maintaining your productivity and staying healthy. Sleep deprivation can impair your ability to make well-reasoned decisions and effect your memory, focus and motivation. Make sure that you have a regular bedtime routine that helps you to switch off from screens and prepare for bed at least an hour before you shut your eyes. For further tips on sleep, check out our blogs on Overcoming Sleep Sabotage and the Best Sleep Apps.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Taking time out of your day to practice mindfulness and/or meditation may seem a bit ‘silly’ to hard-nosed, workaholic cynics like us but the benefits can’t be ignored. Countless young entrepreneurs and tech innovators start their days with positive affirmations, take mindfulness breaks and try to work meditation sessions into their routine. So what are the practical benefits?
Well, mindfulness is about taking the time to ground yourself in the present. People who practice mindfulness meditation enjoy a variety of productivity benefits such as decreased stress and anxiety, improved memory functions, a greater ability to multitask and better focus and concentration. Studies show that the benefits of mindfulness and meditation can be felt in two weeks at the minimum so give it a go today and reap the benefits.
Cut Down on Smartphone Time
Smartphones are time stealers. Studies show that every time we pick up our phones to read a WhatsApp message or scroll through Instagram, it can take up to a whopping 26 minutes to get our focus back on the work we were doing. It can also have a negative impact on our memory function and disturb our sleep cycle.
The importance of regular digital detoxing cannot be underestimated. When you’re working on a project, try leaving your phone in another room to remove the temptation to constantly check it. When getting ready for bed, turn your phone off a couple of hours before bedtime. Regularly limiting your phone activity will do wonders for your productivity and your health.
Adjust Your Routine
Getting stuck in a routine can often have a negative impact on our productivity. Doing the same things in the same order, day after day can sap our enthusiasm, decrease our energy levels and kill our motivation. If you feel like your routine is demotivating you then the best thing you can do is shake things up.
If you usually work from home on certain days, try going into the office to confer with colleagues and discuss projects face to face. If you usually go to the gym first thing in the morning, try going for a walk at lunchtime instead. If you have a certain order that you generally complete your work in, try flipping it on it’s head. Small changes to your routine can have big impacts on your productivity.
We hope that you will find some or all of these self-care tips to be useful on helping you to boost your productivity and prioritise your health. The world is changing and we must change with it. We need to be a little bit more like the younger generation and a little bit less like our parents. Perhaps that way, we can strike a healthier balance between our work commitments and our health.