What Happened to Rush Hour?

Remember “Rush Hour”? Now it seems as though our freeways are consistently congested, without the ebbs and flows that allowed autonomy in planning our travel time. Much like the rate of traffic, ebbs and flows in the rate of information we receive via technology have meshed into one major information traffic jam, so to speak, on our smartphones and devices.

Journalism and the public audience used to benefit from slow weeks, with no major announcements, however in today’s day and age, everyday there seems to be a quick update with another devastating announcement, and underneath that, a new way to learn a language and just below that, a cute puppy.

How can we stay centered with this volume, variety and pace of information? It’s all about deploying our own autonomous processes.

Since organic ebbs and flows are now a thing of the past, it’s time to move from a passive role to an active role by deploying our own autonomous processes to opt in and out of this flow of information. This shift in becoming accountable for our own peace of mind will open doors to better workplace motivation, increased energy and the continued ability to make reasonable, sound decisions in the face of information overload.

Every publication is competing for our time and attention so every announcement is delivered with increasing intensity, regardless of the content. The quick pace of delivery for this content has shifted our perception of time. It seems like we collectively feel a sense of being “late” because, “now” has become the new yesterday. As a result, we continually ride the informational highway regardless of the fact that The World Health Organization estimates that stress costs American businesses up to $300 billion a year in job turnover costs, health care expenditures, and absenteeism. [1]

But what are we driving toward? If the issue is stress, we now have the ability to opt out, it’s just a matter of how.

If we were to embrace practices that increase our attention-span and self-care creating a sense of abundance, our energy, motivation and decision making processes would certainly follow suit.

Here are two fantastic tools:

  1. Meditation: A study conducted at the University of Washington found that those who had meditation training in the workplace were able to stay on task longer and were less distracted. Meditation also improved memory and alleviated stress. [2]

    Researchers looked at their speed, accuracy and number of times they switched tasks. The participants also were asked to record their stress levels and memory performance while doing the jobs. Researchers found that the meditation group not only had lower stress levels during the multitasking tests but also were able to concentrate longer without being distracted. “Meditation is a lot like doing reps at a gym. It strengthens your attention muscle,” Levy says. [2]
  2. Exercise: BMC Public Health conducted a study of the psychosocial benefits of workplace physical exercise. This study evaluated the effect of workplace versus home-based physical exercise on psychosocial factors among healthcare workers. A total of 200 female healthcare workers from 18 departments at three hospitals were cluster-randomized to 10 weeks of: 1) home-based physical exercise performed alone during leisure time for 10 min 5 days per week or 2) workplace physical exercise performed in groups during working hours for 10 min 5 days per week and up to 5 group-based coaching sessions on motivation for regular physical exercise. Results concluded performing physical exercise together with colleagues during working hours was more effective than home-based exercise in improving vitality and concern and control of pain among healthcare workers. These benefits occurred in spite of increased work pace. [3]

Exercise, better if with peers.

Clearly, it is important to encourage employees to be active during the workweek, ideally with peers. One might offer a weekly gym membership at a group discounted rate to nearby facilities, or a bike-to-work program, given the distance they’d travel from home to work. All employee incentives with a focus on physical fitness will increase overall health and wellbeing and build trust and loyalty.

Other ideas include creating a tech-free zone in the workplace, implementing work-from home days and a de-clutter day for employees to clear off their desks, clear out their email inboxes and desktop folders once per quarter.

In today’s competitive landscape, technology provides ways for us to receive so many benefits, but in order to maintain our sense of focus and motivation, we must stay true to ourselves and accept the responsibility of remaining in control of the technology, so it doesn’t control us, and our teams.

How to Use this Information

Every company is facing change at an exponential rate. With the right team, these shifts can be managed to the benefit of the company. For more than 16 years, Executives Unlimited has been committed to helping our clients develop their strategic executive workforce planning, and we’d be happy to help you with your changing needs. For information about our services, call us at (866) 957-4466 or contact us online today.

[2] Meditation can keep you more focused at work, study says
[3] Psychosocial benefits of workplace physical exercise: cluster randomized controlled trial