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High Stress or High Performance?


Sustainable high performance means work flows; actions are productive and lead to important outcomes.

There will be tension as you create the next iteration productivityof your business, but there does not have to be stress.

In my last blog post I suggested an easy assessment for you to diagnose where your organization is on the continuum of sustainable high performance.

If you did not score as high as you would have liked, or if you are feeling stress, there is likely some kind of misalignment between you and your business.

Lack of alignment impedes communication, clear focus, flow of work, effective planning and if left unaddressed, leads to stress, frustration and even burnout.

How do you get more clarity, more focus, and in the end, lead your organization toward a sustainable future?

There are daily habits that support this result.  I love the four habits Jessica Olmon of the Vero Law Group recommends:

1) Build rest into your daily routine (to maximize productivity!).

Jessica references Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, and Tony says people are most productive when they work for three uninterrupted cycles of 90 minutes at time, each cycle followed by 30 minutes of rest.

Hard as it is to do, I have found even 15 minutes of rest or a completely different activity (for example, taking a walk) creates huge jumps in productivity. My mind and body just do not get as tired. When I practice this habit, I have better, clearer ideas. I have higher energy. I feel less stressed.

2) Quality time…Without Your Digital Devices

Our devices are magical in many ways, but let’s face it, they often keep us in reaction mode. Constantly reacting to others can often mean our precious energy is being drained and dissipated.

Spend quality time every day unconnected to any digital device. Focus on family, hiking in nature, doing something you love (besides your work), making a beautiful meal, being present to friends.

Take control of your time. It really is the most precious commodity you have.

If this sounds impossible, start with 45 minutes a day completely unconnected. Notice how it feels to be off-line and fully present to your immediate surroundings. Be there.

Within a state of relaxation, the mind re-charges, frustrations slide into perspective, stress is reduced, wisdom and creativity are more accessible.

3) Rest and Renew with Meditation

Short daily meditation (even ten minutes) can make a big difference for both your body and your mind. When I am meditating every day, I am more focused, relaxed, and productive.

Looking for a way to get started? Try ‘Silence, Clarity and Ease’ from Mastering Successful Work. Click here for a brief downloadable introduction. Click here to listen to and download the meditation itself.

4) Streamline or Delegate Unnecessary Work

If you find yourself doing administrative tasks that can be streamlined or delegated, you are wasting time and money and adding to your stress!

Find ways to automate or fully delegate these tasks. Start by delegating what you like to do least. In delegating, there is always an opportunity to empower team members to learn something new and be part of a solution. There is an opportunity to educate others about your vision for the organization and how this task is a critical part of the whole.

Take the time to explain and show them what it means for the task to be done well. Tie it to time; be clear with your team member about when it needs to be completed. Then let it go! Use the time you gain back to focus on the bigger questions of growth and sustainability for your business.

Pick one of these four habits to work with this week and see if you notice a decline in your stress levels.  Let me know how it goes below!

Are you a nonprofit executive looking to cultivate sustainable high performance in your organization? Join us June 5th, from 8:00 to 10:00 am for an invitation-only executive roundtable, “Essential Elements of Sustainable High Performance,” in Research Triangle Park, NC. Contact me here for more information.

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