In my last post I introduced the topic of the importance of maintaining focus on four health spectrums in order to not only be healthy but a more productive and successful professional. In the Harvard Business Review article, The Making of a Corporate Athlete, the author illustrates the concept of the high-performance pyramid. In this illustration the pyramid starts with a solid foundation of physical capacity and builds on this with Emotional Capacity which then provides for greater mental capacity and finally room for focus on spiritual capacity. Can we be high performers without focusing on each of these layers? Absolutely, but maintaining that high-performing output over a long duration becomes severely limited.
|photo by darkpatator||via PhotoRee|
In this post, I want to focus on the foundational layer of physical capacity. For so many of us we are so quick to ignore this extremely important aspect once our work lives begin to become more hectic. How many of us have skipped that workout or sacrificed more and more hours of sleep to put in more time at the office and punch out one more deliverable? All the while our blood pressure increases and immune system weakens as we work through lunch and go non-stop from the time we punch in until we finally call it a day 10-12+ hours later. When you take a step back you realize it’s a recipe for disaster. I have been guilty of ignoring this all too important aspect and it showed in my effectiveness at work.
Maintaining our physical capacity helps us build endurance and promotes mental and emotional recovery. No one is implying that we need to be athletic specimens but doing some very simple things can go a long way in setting the foundation for a happier, more productive and hence more successful self:
- Make physical health a top priority. Just as high as your career aspirations. Get at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise 4 times a week to increase alertness and energy levels.
- Make conscious efforts to “decouple” from your work every 90-120 minutes. Studies have shown that not only does this allow your mind and body time to recover, but reduces vulnerability to frustration and anxiety that build up without breaks form our work.
- Pay attention to what and how often you eat. At the base level, we are what we eat. If we just grab the quickest, high calorie snack so we can keep working we set ourselves up for erratic blood sugar levels and inevitable crashes.
- Get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. I have colleagues that are convinced that they only need a couple hours of sleep each night, but they also seem tired and out of shape whenever I see them and also seem unhappy with their career progressions.
At that base level, we live in these bodies. Without them we are going nowhere and can’t hope to create emotional, mental and spiritual strength.. So how can we ignore them?
Do you find yourself ignoring you physical capacity? How do you maintain it while balancing the demands of your career?