ideas from books: The Power of Full Engagement

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The message is clear: optimal performance comes from living a balanced life, not from working 12-15 hours straight. What will get us results is not the number of hours we put in, but the quality of those hours, which is affected not only by the specific skills we bring to our job, but by what we do outside the workplace in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual spheres. What Schwartz is saying may be counter-intuitive: how logical does it sound to say that if you work less you get more done?! And yet, it’s true! Many people spend way too much time at work without allowing for adequate time for the essential recovery process to unfold.

Our work culture is built on the assumption that we function like computers, in a linear fashion. It just so happens that we are humans, and we function rhythmically, in an oscillatory fashion. Sleep, good nutrition, regular exercise, a healthy emotional life and a strong sense of purpose are essential factors for our performance and general well-being. When they are lacking we are underperforming, no matter how good our technical skills are (and we are leading a dangerously unidimensional life…).

In order to correct our dysfunctional habits, we need to diagnose them and then establish positive rituals which, in time (30 to 60 days), should engrain new, healthy and more productive habits. For me, I found that I needed more sleep, more exercise and more time to do non work-related activities, such as reading, writing and watching movies/documentaries. To unlearn old habits is not easy, and it takes a lot of willpower! But the results – in terms of performance and quality of life – should be well worth it…

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