In the fast-paced, hyperproductive culture that pervades many current work environments, the constant pressure to meet deadlines, increase output or finally get that raise often pushes employees and business owners alike to the point of exhaustion and discontent. But does working harder, faster or longer actually lead to greater productivity?
After spending much of her working life as a consultant for Fortune 500 companies, Asheville career coach and entrepreneur Laura Juarez says that taking time to relax, unwind and detach may be the key to increased workplace performance and job satisfaction.
“I’m super outcome-driven and I love to work, but I know that when I am not in the mode of really taking care of myself, I show up at 50, 60, 70%,” she explains. “And I think the question is, what’s the point of that? What’s the point of living a life that’s killing you? What’s the point of living a life that is wearing you out?’’
Juarez, who wrote the book Ignite Your Impact: A Field Guide to Embody Your Potential, says she aims to help others discover their passion and avoid workplace burnout. Taking time to practice decompression techniques such as writing, spending time with friends or working out, she believes, is crucial to maintaining drive and creativity at work.
“Some days, you might really need to sit on a log in nature, and other days you need ecstatic dance,” says Juarez. “Some days you might really just want to spend time journaling and connecting with inner wisdom, and other days you might need to go out and belly laugh with friends. It’s about really dialing in to where you feel called to be right now and being willing to do this for yourself.”
While it doesn’t necessarily appear on a resume, the ability to listen to our needs and adapt accordingly might be one of the most valuable employee assets, she points out.
“I really believe that this work that we do to care for our body, mind and spirit — this is the leadership training that nobody receives,” notes Juarez. “We get trained on how to communicate, negotiate, lead well, manage conflict, etc. And nobody is getting this training on how you lead yourself to be at optimum so that you can perform at optimum.”