For those of you who have read my book, The Ordinary Leader, you know that I sustained a very serious concussion four years ago. After three years of diligent focus on rest and physiotherapy, my symptoms had mostly subsided, but I still struggled with dizziness, particularly when combined with fatigue, a lack of sleep, or too much time on the computer. I was functioning well enough that I stopped being as concerned about my health and instead focused more on work. I assumed my symptoms would continue to lessen over time.
More recently, however, my symptoms have actually become more present and chronic – I have taken a step or two backward instead of forward. Earlier on in my recovery, I was diligent about getting lots of sleep, even if that meant coming in late to work. I was also regularly taking breaks from the computer. In the last year, however, I have reverted to my old ways. Prior to my concussion, I could easily just “power through” feeling tired in spite of less-than-desired amounts of sleep and then catch up on the weekend. But after a year of trying this, I’ve realized that this approach isn’t working for me.
A few weeks ago, I made a commitment to get out of this rhythm. So, once again I am sleeping more and working less. Sometimes this means coming in late to work, leaving early, or even taking a midday nap. I’m also scheduling regular breaks from my computer – this, in particular, takes focused effort.
The good news is that I’m already feeling better. When I am working, I have more clarity and energy to better think through challenges and opportunities. My organization and I will both be better off because of this new approach.
What about you? Is the way you are working getting in the way of your health? While you may not be dealing with post-concussion symptoms, consider how your work is affecting your well-being.
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