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5 Ways to Maximize Your Work Hours to Maximize Your Well-Being!

August 5, 2014

I’m particularly excited about our Summer of Well-Being guest blogger this week, because she happens to be my Mom! That’s right, folks, the apple does not fall far from the tree! Ellie Kane is an artist, healer, and certified coach. I cannot express how powerful her teachings, healing and love have supported me along my journey, and I know you’ll appreciate what she has to share! Providing her this forum is one of the simple ways that I can say, “Thanks, Mom” for being such an important part of my life, and for helping so many others!! You are AWESOME! Make sure to check out Ellie’s blog on Thursday to learn how you can heal with Art!


What does living “well” at work mean to you? If you are like most Americans, you’re spending the majority of your waking hours either working, or thinking about your work! Work can be both a blessing and an energy vampire, depending upon how you “work” it.

Are you “working” work, or is work “working” you?

Because we are at work so much, it can’t NOT affect our well-being, right? But, does it affect us negatively, or positively? Although there are many things outside of our control when at work, like the behaviors and actions of others, tasks we are mandated to do, or whether we have access to clean air or natural lighting, we do have the power to make REALLY GREAT choices for ourselves, helping to make work THE VERY BEST place to make significant strides toward our wellness.

If you’re a fan of the Pareto Principle, you’ll understand the power behind this strategy. The principle states that 80% of the output is achieved with 20% of the input. Since we spend approximately 80% of our waking hours engaged in work (give or take), why not use 20% of our work day to achieve 80% of our well-being goals? You with me?

Let’s seek out a few holistic strategies to begin doing this! Here are 5 ideas you can try:

 

1. Seek the Truth.

Much of our stress at work can stem from focusing on what “may be true” vs. “what is true.” A simple example could be having a quick conversation with your immediate supervisor and assuming that he is not pleased with the news you are sharing with him because his arms are crossed and his brows are furrowed. Assumptions like this one can nag at us mentally and emotionally all day long, sucking away our creative, healthy energy. Why not just ask him, “I am sensing that you are not happy in this moment. Does this have to do with my work, or with the information I’m sharing with you?” Many times, individuals don’t even realize the signals they are giving. Knowing this can also provide them with a moment of awareness that can benefit them tremendously. What at work might you be assuming that is sucking up your energy?

2. Seek Feedback.

Humans are emotional beings, and our emotions directly affect what we choose to believe about ourselves, and the actions we take to get to where we want to go. As emotional beings, we want to know how we are doing, that we are on the right track, and that we are appreciated and doing a great job. Even if you are the leader within your organization, you need this too! Take time to ask others how you are doing. Get the validation that you need and deserve, and don’t judge any constructive criticism that can help you continue to develop and grow as a professional/leader. Knowing how we are doing and that we are appreciated can make our days at work so much more enjoyable and can even ignite our inner fire to achieve greater results at work. Who’s feedback are you desiring?

3. Seek our Authenticity.

An important component to our wellness is loving and sharing who we are naturally and at our best. In many work environments we feel as though we cannot show ourselves in order to move up the ladder, or sometimes, just keep our jobs! Over time this can cause sadness, de-motivation, and an overall disconnect with the individuals we work with, and ultimately, with our purpose and ability to grow in our career. We can seek our authenticity in comfortable steps by sharing our ideas, speaking up when we normally would not, and developing a more personal relationship with a co-worker. According to Gallup, having at least one good friend at work can dramatically improve our well-being and our engagement at work. How can YOU better show up at work?

4. Seek Nature.

If you happen to be cooped up all day long in a “concrete jungle,” do yourself a favor and get up and outside at least once per day for a minimum of 15 minutes, but if you can do more, do it! You can accomplish so much within one hour that can positively affect your well-being, like breathing in some fresh air, getting your daily dose of Vitamin D by sitting in the sun, walking and getting your metabolism going, sitting under a tree and doing something for yourself, etc. Even 15 minutes of disconnecting from work and connecting with nature can reinvigorate you. You can even connect with nature by eating a nice salad (or drinking your salad!) during this nature break. What aspect of nature is screaming for your attention during work hours?

5. Seek Silence.

What? Yes, that’s right. Whether you’re in meetings all day, or chatting around the water-cooler (not a great use of your time), creating time for YOU to brainstorm, move your ideas or work forward in a focused way, or take 5-10 minutes to breathe or stretch at your desk, you will be doing your mind, body and soul some good! It may be harder for some of us to accomplish these quiet, focused tasks at home, especially if we have to cook, do homework, clean, organize for the next day, etc. So why not find the time to work on your activities during your work hours? How can 10 minutes of silence during work skyrocket your productivity or decrease your stress?


The ideas I’ve shared above relate to some key dimensions of well-being, including Thinking, Feeling, Breathing, Communicating, Sensing, Eating, Moving, and Self-Responsibility. The cool thing is that when you work on just one dimension, you truly are working on all of them! They are fully integrated and cannot function without each other.

Even though these ideas are quite simple, they are not always easy! Try just one and see how it may help shift how you approach work and wellness, and how other areas of your well-being may be affected as well.

Don’t let work “work” you! Be intentional about how you approach your work hours and take advantage of that time to feel great!

It’s Your Life. Lead it Well.

Monique

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