030: How to Resist the Hustle, Work Smarter, and Rest
Release Date: 07/09/2019
In this leadership podcast episode, let’s get real about our productivity-driven hustle culture. To be an effective leader and work smarter not harder, we look to nature for a few best practices.
Overworked and Under-Rested
Many of the leaders I work with are burning their candles at both ends. They overwork to overproduce, and eventually, they become shortsighted in their problem-solving. This is not intentional; it’s more often a self-preservative effort to maximize production.
Creating Marginal Space
If we’re going to be present and bring our best selves to problem-solving, we must create some marginal white space in our routines. This will afford us greater creativity and collaboration with our co-workers and family.
If you find yourself with less and less to offer in the face of increasing demand, nature is calling. Maybe you need to give the land a rest. I’m not talking about vacation. Vacation often becomes just another expression of hustle culture as we attempt to compensate for lost time with family and friends. I’m talking about sabbatical.
Warning: Disruption Ahead
Let me warn you kindly. What I am recommending will be so disruptive that you may find yourself disoriented. We’re so slanted toward our high-productivity hustle culture that any resistance to that mindset will not be well tolerated.
What Hustle Culture Has Taught Us
A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times by Bonnie Tsui, You Are Doing Something Important When You Aren’t Doing Anything, referenced a viral LinkedIn article by Ian Sohn, president of digital marketing agency Wunderman Chicago. Sohn wrote in defense of his vision for a healthier, more humanistic workplace: “I never need to know that you are working from home today because you simply need the silence. I deeply resent how we’ve infantilized the workplace. How we feel we have to apologize for having lives. How constant connectivity/availability (or even the perception of it) has become a valued skill.”
Letting the Land Rest
The ground of your mind, your will, and your emotions need a rest. Nature screams the truth that overworking a piece of land results in steady declines in productivity.
Keys to Success
- Be kind to yourself. Start gently with a one-day disconnect. A lengthy sabbatical may be too disruptive if you’ve never intentionally rejected your productivity mindset.
- Don’t make this about compensating for lost time in other areas of relationship. Don’t exchange productivity in one area for productivity in another.
- Make some room for silence. This is not easy amid excessive technoference. Working through short periods of intentional silence is incredibly restorative. Again, be kind to yourself. Don’t attempt a three-day silent retreat if you’ve never gone more than an hour without noise. Start with thirty minutes.
One of my favorite observers of life, Walter Brueggemann, says that sabbath is an act of radical resistance. Observe how quickly your proclivity toward productivity surfaces when you begin to create some space between you and your productive bent. It will attack like a jilted lover!
Keep It Simple
You don’t have to create an extravagant plan for a sabbatical, but intentionality is critical to your process. Take a day and go hike. Sit by a stream. Treat yourself to a long meal.
Tell Me Your Story
If you engage in this radical act of resistance, I’d love to hear your story. Contact me through any of the available channels listed below.
Tiffany Taylor and the team at Sparkit Marketing in Los Angeles help me look better than I probably am. They maintain and develop all my collateral material for these podcasts, including my social media presence. If you need help getting your message heard, contact Tiffany at firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-371-1292.
Until next time, lead well!
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