Being Productive Without The Exhaustion
Balancing Health and Productivity
What happens when you go, go, go and run out of gas? When you can no longer do the work that you need to do in order to meet the monthly bills. When you barely have enough energy to get through the work day, let alone have anything left after the work day is done. Or are you a mom, who in on call 24/7, and the tank is always on empty.
Health is not just the absence of disease and disorder; total health involves optimizing many different facets of life. It encompasses physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and relationship or social wellbeing. In Marcus Buckingham’s book First Break All the Rules, he includes a questionnaire that you can do to look at staff retention. One of the questions was, “I feel like I have a best friend at work.” You may laugh at this, but this is one element that creates the optimal work environment.
In today’s fast-paced, get-it-done yesterday society, we are often pushed to our limits. Today’s business is often focused on maximizing efficiency. How many clients can you cram into your day? How many trees can you plant in an hour? How much can you produce on a shift? This can happen when business goals are focused on money. But when we are dealing with people, it no longer is about efficiency, it becomes about effectiveness and quality care.
The employee is a business’s greatest asset. Our health is one of the greatest treasures we have. Your optimal work environment may be low stress, more co-operative, good conflict resolution, is intellectually challenging, promotes autonomy, provides opportunity for growth and learning, has someone who will listen to your needs, and gives you time away from work for rest and recovery.
Stress can have a significant negative affect on all areas of our health. Stress is a part of our day-to-day life. The goal is not to ride along a stressful life, but to understand the role it plays in our lives and to learn how to manage it on a daily basis. What does a body need in times of increased stress? What can you do as an employer to help staff deal with the stress in their lives?
Stress can actually help you focus better and can be positive.
Having small amounts of stress can stimulate you to think.
Being able to manage your stress is key.
Frank Long, A Better You
The top part of this post was originally written and published prior to me selling Start Line Physiotherapy in April 2016. I decided to sell the business in 2016 because I had experienced my own health issue (intrauterine fibroid). Realizing that I was putting the business operations and cash flow ahead of my health was a motivational factor. There was also the issue of having parents who were aging and lived in another part of the country. I wanted to be available for them if they needed me.
The diagnosis of stage IV colon cancer in January 2020, followed shortly thereafter with the Covid Pandemic, interfered with my bi-annual visitations with my family back in Eastern Canada. It wasn't that I was sick. I felt perfectly healthy. I just didn't want to run the risk of contracting Covid and passing it on to my elderly parents.
The understanding of the effects of too much stress on the human system was not lost on me. I felt like I was balancing the breakdown with enough repair. Apparently, there was more that I needed to change.
Is it possible to be "productive" without the exhaustion? It might all depend on how you define productivity. Was I being productive by treating fifteen clients in an eight-hour day? Some therapists might say, I was not being productive at all, because they would see twice as many people as I would in the same time period. Someone else, might say that I was productive, as I only took a thirty-minute break in that eight-hour day. I was on the go the whole time. There was no downtime between clients. Even with a thirty-minute appointment time, there wasn't a lot of time used for just discussion. It was reassess and start treating. Many times, I felt like I needed more time with clients, and started to shift to hour sessions. My preference is for the forty-five to sixty-minute sessions. I didn't feel as rushed.
Be efficient with things. Be effective with people.
Energy Gas Gauge
When people ask me how I am doing, I can readily identify where my energy level is on the whole. Right now, as I am doing some homeopathic treatments, it is about 60%. Some days it bounces up to 80%. Then I excitedly scurry around doing everything I haven't done that needs doing. Like scrubbing the moss and slim off of the back patio and other household cleaning projects. I am fortunate right now that I have the ability to rest, when my body system tells me to rest. I never really gave myself that luxury in the past. I just pushed through it, unless I got really sick with more flu like systems, I wasn't stopping.
Getting past the guilt of Rest
In the beginning, when Start Line was first starting out, with only two physiotherapists and one massage therapist, and the office manager, there was a quieter, more relaxed feeling to the clinic. We still saw the same number of clients per therapist, but there seemed more time to connect. It felt less busy. If I was to do it over again, I would set up the fee structure differently, so to allow the therapists time between clients, and time to connect. Working from home, I set up my practice to allow fifteen minutes between clients. It wasn't rushed. There was time to sit and eat.
Today, April 1st, 2021, has been a pajama day for me. I have mostly worked away on the blog posts. Getting the newer ones properly categorized and tagged. I then started in on these older ones, and decided to repost this one. This is something I would have normally done on a Sunday, a day I wasn't scheduled to treat clients. Today is a Thursday. Thursdays were normally an eight-hour day, with up to fifteen clients. When the guilt starts to creep in, I say "change", and activate my Joe Dispenza meditation neuroprogramming. Then I visualize all the happy cells in my body. Happy because I am giving them a chance to recover.
Repair comes in the rest periods. Give yourself time to refuel, repair, refurbish. For if your system is being pushed more towards breakdown than repair, it will be a matter of "when" you breakdown, not "if" you breakdown.