5 Ways to Work at Not Working
Enjoyment and fun are different animals. One happens on the Summit of Mt. Everest, the other at Disneyland. Both are spectacular, but leading is more like Everest.
Ease makes leaders feel uneasy.
Average effort feels exceptional, if you haven’t rested.
There’s no such thing as giving 100% all the time. 60% feels like 100% when you haven’t rested.
Learning to not-work is hard work.
- Rest is not thinking about the next thing to do.
- Rest is defining yourself by who you are, not what you do.
- Rest comes after you stop feeling anxious or guilty about resting.
5 ways to work at not working:
Arrogance is too self-important to rest.
- Develop a ritual or two. Rituals are a form of rest.
- Walk around and greet people every morning.
- Prepare for tomorrow before you leave the office today.
- Rise early enough for quiet time.
- Purchase an emergency phone that only a few people know about.
- Once or twice a year, turn everything off until silence feels good. It will likely take two or three days.
- Practice free writing.
- Walk slowly once or twice a week. Meander.
3 ways to work at fun:
- Have Disneyland-fun with colleagues and teams. No cell phones. No business. Just frivolous fun. Have the kind of fun that makes you feel guilty because you aren’t working. Fun strengthens connections.
- Ask the fun question. “How will we have fun today?”
- Hang with people you enjoy. Get away from people you feel you must impress or who need something from you.
Rest – after sweat – strengthens you for the next leg of the climb.
Strength comes after rest.
What does rest look like to you?
How might leaders have fun with their teams?
Dan as a CFO in both small, private firms and large public ones I used several ways to get the teams together socially so that they would be more comfortable with each other and then would work together more smoothly.
1. Once a year worldwide Controller/Manager level 2-3 day business meetings w small group evening dinners or trips to a nearby racetrack.
2. For the full headquarters team events like a pool hall or bowling evening with gag prizes.
All very worthwhile. After people spent fun time as a group they just worked with each other better. And it got the more senior people to mix with the younger ones.
Brad James, The Business Zoo
Thanks Brad. I think so leaders just need permission to do these cool things.
I have one of those jobs that we give 100% and sometimes more to cover for others failures. I carry a cell phone 24/7, rarely do I have a weekend (if I get a weekend) without a work call. Your post today drives home what friends and my wife have been telling me for years. I need to do two things, first find a way to REST and second am I teaching those below me that this is how to succeed? Then I need to change that and teach myself and others how to follow your guidelines. If you don’t mind I will post this to my team this morning for discussion.
Thanks Walt. Love how you took this into the realm of how we impact others. I find that instructive, compassionate, and leaderly. You have my best for the journey ahead.
Please feel free to share with your team.
Everything here is brilliant stuff. Top tip? Greet people. So people notice that YOU notice them. Send them a message that you appreciate that they are here.
Just one thing: that bit on Everest? Is it enjoyment, or satisfaction/achievement?
‘Average effort feels exceptional if you haven’t rested’ – how true! I recently returned from a much needed holiday that turned into a part-time working deal. Needless to say, instead of feeling rejuvenated and rested I now feel like it takes enormous effort just to keep on top of things. Definitely need to work on not working and fun in the next month. Thanks for great ideas!
I like the idea of resting at work; rituals that have value but are low cognitive or physical effort, such as the one you suggested – greeting your colleagues. I work in a school. One of my rituals is to spend time in the yard at lunch or recess interacting with the students. It’s way and enjoyable to do, gives me a little down time, and helps me micro monitor how well the students are playing together.
Very rare. is the reality that it MUST be done now. Rest is taking a moment or 5 minutes to chat and spend time with the person across the table. Today we started a weekly update meeting with 10 attending by stating “what did you do that was fun/enjoyable this past Memorial Day weekend”. No one suffered, no catastrophe resulted.