I read a provocative article in Harvard Business Reviews about time management this morning, ironically while I am on vacation. I appreciate the message of self empowerment, but I am surprised there is no mention of any other reason people don’t say no. More than a couple come to mind: Fear, Anxiety, Expectations.
HOW FEAR CONTRIBUTES TO STRESS
The last 8 years have not been kind to the psyche of students and workers alike. I hear employees voice their fear of being fired, demoted, not considered for a promotion, poor evaluations, and other actions by employers who actively or benignly take advantage of current economic conditions.
I hear too many freelancers and contractors afraid to say no because they don’t trust the next job is waiting for them.
I hear too many small business owners struggling to keep their businesses profitable.
I hear most students fear not being good enough, not having accomplished enough, not having done enough to be accepted into the school of their choice…and it starts as early as elementary school. Too often the parents started even earlier, fretting about their infant getting into the right preschool.
RACING TO THE BOTTOM
Hyper-competitive environments tend to hyper-focus on the balance sheet to measure success. Hyper-competitive environments don’t honor boundaries. These environments tend to forget that a balanced life allows mere mortals to function well and maintain high productivity. Hyper-competitive environments often forget to consider the less obvious costs of absenteeism, medical claims, and turnover.
The press for more and faster leads to a state I call “Capitalism run amok.” I suspect Wall Street’s preoccupation with quarterly returns drives the phenomena. A “never enough” mindset contributes to everyone’s compromised state–mentally, physically and emotionally. I get the sense we are racing to the bottom, and I’m not sure “time coaching” will slow the rush. What needs to change?
I applaud Huff Post’s effort to redefine success through a third metric, beyond money and power. Maybe the GNP (gross national product) needs to consider quality of life and not just exchange of dollars. Right now the financial markets reward all the dollars spent on A) eating too much, B) indulging too much and C) spending too much money to treat diseases linked to A and B. I am especially taken by the thoughtful words of Motley Fool’s CEO, Tom Gardner, in his piece, “6 Ways to Save Your Life–and Your Company” published May 29, 2014. I realize expectations play a significant role here and I’m curious what others think.
What do you think needs to change for you to live a life where there is time to work, but also time to play? Where there is time to respond rather than just react? Where there is opportunity to both nourish and nurture yourself? What would it take for you to enjoy a happy and productive life?