Are holidays, meditation and rest the recipe to success?
In a fast-paced world where emails, instant messages and social sites constantly demand your attention, it often feels as though being switched on is the only way to succeed. However, taking the time to occasionally disengage with the many pressures of the business world might be the best way to conquer it.
Thriving under high pressure
In Arianna Huffington's recent book, Thrive, she suggests that taking holidays, meditating and having adequate sleep is essential for anyone hoping to succeed in their career. The president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group claims that too strong a focus on traditional metrics of success – money and power – has created an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses.
She believes that by shifting the goal posts to include the importance of mindfulness, meditation and unplugging, individuals can actually enjoy even greater success in the workplace. Rather than defining success purely by money and power, she says there should be a third metric – one that focuses on well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.
Competing for attention
It seems like the whole world is telling you that the only way to get to the top in your career is to make sure you're always switched on and reachable, but the toll for such constant availability is high. Even when home from the office or off over the weekend, the easy accessibility of emails and IMs means that many people are working throughout their relaxation time. This can lead to information overload, especially when you consider all the other streams competing for your attention.
Research in The New York Times suggests that if you want your brain to work at peak efficiency, you should be segmenting your day and ensuring that tasks don't bleed into one another. For example, engaging on social media should be one part of your day and responding to emails should be another. When you check both regularly throughout the day, you're letting your attention resources be zapped, making it impossible to focus completely on one task.
Taking time out for yourself
By segmenting your time, taking evenings truly for yourself, planning proper holidays and engaging in meditative behaviour, you can restore your energy levels and boost your creative abilities. Know that when you're taking a break, the time is not being ‘wasted’ – rather, it's an investment in yourself and in your abilities as a high-functioning and successful person.
If you want to function at your best and avoid stress-related illnesses, build relaxation time into your routine and make sure you regularly switch off from the pressures of everyday life.