Hello Everyone! The new team at Corporate Energetics wishes you all a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year period. We have been busy reorganising both the Corporate Energetics and Energetics Institute businesses and websites these last few months and look forward to 2011 with great enthusiasm. We encourage you to look around the Corporate Energetics website as all our pages have changed significantly and we have also added new Articles and other interesting pages related to business psychology, leadership and how personal issues affect business performance. (If you have problems viewing our website with your browser, press Ctrl and F5 simultaneously to refresh, and you will see our new content.)
Our focus moving forward with this newsletter is to inform our readers as to new trends, science, opinions and approaches in organisational development, leadership and excellence.
Our regular monthly newsletters are designed to assist anyone interested in these topics and how they may have applicability in your organisation. We also support many community and charity events and will post an update on these from time to time.
Sharpening the Saw over Christmas
It is a common practice in Australia for executives, key staff, and business owners to take most of their annual leave over the Christmas / New Year period. Many also tend to accumulate leave entitlements over time, such that when annual leave is taken, the person will often be well and truly stressed and needing a rest.
In management theory terms, the important practice of taking at least 2 weeks leave is known as “sharpening the saw”. This term arose out of the classic book “7 Habits of Highly Successful people” by Steven Covey, who argued the need to rest and reflect, before applying oneself back into work issues and problems.
His analogy is stating that the worn out executive or worker is operating from a “blunt saw” or low productivity that serves neither the person nor the organisation. Management studies in the 1980’s had already identified that rested workers were able to be more productive, work smarter than harder, and had higher job satisfaction, morale, and well-being.
In 2010, medical knowledge and neuroscience informs us for better how the pay-off goes far beyond these measures to a point where it can dictate the physical, emotional and mental states of health of the person concerned.
For a long time now doctors have noticed a curious phenomenon amongst executives who take holidays after a long stint at work. It is common for executives like this to manifest either flu like illnesses, or chronic fatigue like symptoms for up to the first week of their holidays. These illnesses or symptoms normally appear within days of starting their holiday.
We now know more about this phenomenon. It seems the modern stressed life that many of us shoulder in our workplaces has the effect of putting our nervous systems and brains into a form of “fight or flight” for much of our working life. When we take holidays this effect stops and in our relaxation we stimulate our immune system. Our immune system then may induce these flu-like illnesses or chronic fatigue style tiredness. The body is simply doing maintenance and a cleanup of opportunistic bugs, fungi, toxins etc. and uses illness and fatigue as part of the process.
This temporary “downtime” ultimately is not in itself harmful, but other effects of sustained stressful work life are. Research has shown that our “fight” or “flight” stress state starts to create the basis for anxiety and the suppression of the production of key feel-good brain chemicals dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.
Once this dynamic is in place a person can over time slide into depression or lose their natural resilience to stress. Many will start to feel easily overwhelmed, and start to become reactive, and have strong recurrent thoughts racing in their heads. Some can manifest chronic fatigue based “burnout”.
Prevention is better than cure. Finding your work-life balance is an ongoing process of juggling what are often conflicted priorities. Taking rest via taking annual leave is a prudent step in maintaining ones bodymind health. You cannot sharpen the saw till you put it down first!!
Have a Happy Christmas,
Director, Corporate Energetics