Reflection: Very few of us have the stamina of the Energizer Bunny – that classically annoying, perpetually active, drum-thumping mascot of sustainability. While a fuzzy pink cheerleader for the world of 24/7/52/365 might be great for technology, it is not a healthy model for human beings.
To stay vital and active, we homo sapiens need renewing pauses through our day to replenish the energy we expend. What makes for the most renewing kind of pauses is a question for debate.
Researchers, Fritz, Lamb & Spreitzer, who share my interest in renewal in the workplace, have just released new research focused specifically on knowledge workers. They suggest that some actions undertaken in the name of renewal (taking micro-breaks or switching to another task) may not be as energizing as we think.
Most of the workplace energizers found to be effective in this research, relate to learning, strengthening relationships, and finding meaning at work. The energy management strategies they found to be most revitalizing were (in order of magnitude):
(1) learn something new,
(2) focus on what gives me joy in my work,
(3) set a new goal,
(4) do something that will make a colleague happy,
(5) make time to show gratitude to someone I work with,
(6) seek feedback,
(7) reflect on how I make a difference at work, and
(8) reflect on the meaning of my work.
Action: In today’s hectic workplace, few of these actions are likely to appear on a list of things to do. Most of our ‘to-dos’ tend to be near term, urgent and pressing in nature.
In contrast, these energy strategies connect to the big picture and the long haul. They are ‘lift up your eyes and make an investment in the future’ activities. Maybe that is telling in itself.
Pick one to experiment with this week, and see what kind of energy lift it brings you.
Quote Of The Week: “Energy is contagious: either you affect people or you infect people.” – T. Harv Eker
Resource Of The Week: Here’s the link to Fritz, Lamb & Spreitzer’s paper, It’s The Little Things That Matter.
Readers Write: Here are a couple of responses to last week’s Pause message, Everybody or Enough.
Reader JL writes: This one hits home as we’re trying to update some technology in my organization and I get to be on the team to try to bring folks forward with it. We have our ‘curmudgeons’ (or so they call themselves) who actually like to stick in the mud awhile.
Reader MS writes: A light came on when I read your comment about – move forward, we don’t need everyone to be on board with us. I think as a team we need to accept this and just go forward. Thank you.
This post was written by Pat Katz on April 11, 2012