All too often in life we put ourselves at the bottom of the pile of stuff we have to do.
The instructions we are given on an aeroplane to put our own oxygen mask on first is largely ignored in day to day life.
The snag is, if we faint while trying to help a child put their mask on first then we are both in trouble!
This is a bleak example but true.
If you do not put your health and wellbeing first, then you run the very real risk of not being around to help all the people you are currently putting ahead of yourself.
Putting your own needs last means you will probably breakdown mentally and/or physically.
You must take time out for your own recovery.
Turn off your technology.
Take the weekends off.
Look at ways to improve your work/life balance.
Take time to chill and relax both with loved ones and on your own.
Be ‘ON’ when you’re on and ‘OFF’ when you’re off.
This will help you avoid depression and burnout.
Most of you probably know by now that I lost my father when I had just turned 16.
He put everyone else first, he worked too hard, he did not take care of himself.
Yes, he loved his job but more than that he wanted to provide for his family.
He wanted to give my brother and I the best education and opportunities.
You may be working really hard because you want to buy a house or because you enjoy buying nice things.
You may have a lot of responsibilities, with people relying on your income.
Believe me when I say that we can often achieve more by working less!
If we give ourselves less time to work, we become more focussed.
If we give ourselves proper time to recover and restore we are better equipped to do our job.
I have found the Pomodoro Technique to be revolutionary in my work life.
- Choose a task to be accomplished
- Turn off all notifications, put everything on Do Not Disturb
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Work on the task until the timer rings then mark your paper
- Take a short break (5 minutes is ok)
- Every 4 cycles take a longer break (15 – 30 minutes to recharge)
You work in short sprints which keeps you productive.
You also get to take regular breaks which keeps you motivated and creative.
It is important that each cycle is a dedicated work cycle.
If you are distracted you must end the cycle or postpone the distraction.
Francesco Cirillo – who invented the technique – suggests the ‘inform, negotiate and call back’ technique:
- Inform the distracting party that you are working on something
- Negotiate a time when you can get back to them
- Schedule that follow up immediately
- Call them back when you have finished your work cycle
You will be surprised at how effective this simple system is.
If your job is demanding of more time than is really reasonable then push back.
Tell your employer you can be more productive and work shorter hours.
Manage your’s and their expectations.
What is physically possible within a working day?
Check your emails twice a day and then get on with your work undisturbed.
If something is on fire, they will call you.
I know for people who are home schooling children as well as doing a job, things are more challenging.
I know also for those of you who are caring for someone elderly or sick things are even more difficult.
But the advice remains the same;
Take time for yourself, however you can.
Can you get more help from other family members or from the State?
It is vital you look after yourself to enable you to look after others.
Make time for physical exercise and for eating well.
Remember, the barrier for eating healthily is not as high as people think.
If you’re strapped for time focus on your overall energy intake;
Buy high protein, lower calorie ready meals.
Buy frozen vegetables.
Make it easier to look after yourself.
Something is always better than nothing.
In the end we sometimes need to be selfish in order to be able to be selfless.