The demanding new workplace requires high-energy workers equipped with agility and skills.
Today workplaces have evolved to become extremely demanding, quite similar to the manner in which cricket has transformed from the leisurely test match to the new T20. In the T20 workplace, employees are expected to put in long hours, go the extra mile, learn new skills, be agile, deal with uncertainty and be faster and better.
To successfully navigate a T20 workplace, one needs very high energy and agility. When the demand on us is higher than our energy, there is stress and low performance.
A little stress can help get people out of lethargy and improve performance, but when stress levels cross a threshold, it can dramatically reduce performance and can damage the health of the individual. Stress can have a long-term negative impact on the health and wellness of individuals, which will affect performance. Stress should be taken very seriously.
The pressure on us comes from multiple domains—work, family, relationships, and so on. Significant events and changes, such as getting married, having a child, getting into a new relationship, joining a new company, moving into a new role, moving to a new city, sickness of a family member, death of a near one, and so on could also create pressure.
Here are a few suggestions on how to thrive in a high-pressure T20 workplace:
1) Managing demand
Proper planning and time management can help us time and spread out the demand. At the simplest level, planning the day can help us ensure that there are no unreasonable demand peaks during the day.
Planning when to get married, when to have a child, when to enroll into an intensive training programme, when to move roles or change jobs, and so on can also help us manage demand. So, if we plan too many changes at once, we need to first reflect if we have the energy and capability to deal with the high demand.
2) Managing energy
By increasing our energy levels, we can ensure that we are able to cope with the demand. Food and breath are two very important sources of energy.
Food can be classified into three categories: (i)energy increasing (ii)energy neutral and (iii)energy decreasing. Fresh fruits, green salads, nuts and so on are energy-increasing foods. White pumpkin is known to be a storehouse of energy. Tomatoes and potatoes are energy- neutral foods. Heavy foods that take a lot of time to digest are energy-decreasing foods. By managing our diet, we can manage our energy. In addition to the quality of food, we also need to manage the quantity of food.
Our breath is a very valuable tool to increase energy. Sudarshan Kriya, is a short and simple breathing technique taught by the Art of Living, to increase energy and release stored stress. Thirty minutes of daily practice leaves one charged for the whole day.
3) Mastering communication
Words once spoken cannot be taken back. The root cause of many problems is improper communication, which can lead to misunderstandings and poor relationships. These, in turn, lead to a decrease in energy levels.
The practice of silence is a very effective technique to improve communication skill. We become more aware of our own thoughts. As we become more aware of our thoughts, we gain more control on our speech. Mahatma Gandhi used to observe silence on Mondays. While practice of daily or weekly silence may be difficult, a yearly silence retreat is extremely beneficial.
4) Observing discipline
The more discipline there is in life, the more effortless life becomes. Good practices, when performed regularly, turn into good habits, which become part of us. A significant part of our lives needs to be on autopilot, so that we can attend to other more demanding portions of our lives. More discipline leads to more auto pilot, freeing up valuable mental energy for other important priorities.
5) Keeping good and true company
Company where our problems feel lighter and where good habits are encouraged is defined as good company. Bad company is one wherein problems feel heavier, where good habits are discouraged and bad habits encouraged. By being conscious of the company we keep, we can preserve and increase our energy and adopt decent habits, leading to an increase in our energy.
When the T20 format was initially launched, many cricketers found it hard to adjust to the pressures of the new model. Only the high-energy players survived. Similarly, in the new T20 workplace, only the high-energy employees will perform and thrive. Managing our energy is no more an option, but an absolute necessity.
(The author is faculty at the Art of Living Corporate Programme.)