Day 2 of the ASTD 2014 International Conference and Exposition is about to kick off with the first of our keynotes. After being literally herded into Hall C, an approximative 6-to-9000 people are hear to find out exactly what Arianna Huffington‘s now famous 19 accents sound like. Huffington is a media guru, founder of the world-famous Huffington Post and has recently written a new book: “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder”. Today, she is going to tell us to turn off…
Taking the immediate opportunity to get back at Joel McHale’s poke earlier this week, Huffington cuts quickly to the chase to tell us that she is here to help us understand how to deal with life better. Following-on from Tony Bingham‘s kick-off speech, she insists that everyone has their own story about when things go wrong and we need to think about this if we want to learn and grow.
Huffington says that some years ago, she suffered a burn-out due to overworking and sleep deprivation. Falling to her desk and splitting her eye, she realised that things had to change. The traditional dual-values of money and power are not enough. We need more. We need four things…
Sleep and rest
Sleep deprivation lowers our immunity and reduces concentration and performance. Athletes are now starting to monitor sleep and make changes that can improve performance. But Huffington wonders why businesses haven’t latched on. We need a sleep revolution if we want to live better. She tells us that her book has some simple steps we can implement to deal with our sleep-deprived “run, run, run” behaviour.
In today’s fast moving world, there is little opportunity to take time out to quieten our minds. We are bombarded with email and media, meetings and work. And we worry. We judge ourselves. Huffington tells us that we are constantly haunted by the little voices in our head. If we want to realise that those voices are not who we really are, we need to meditate, or at the very least take time to concentrate on our breathing. If we do this, we will more quickly see who we really are, what we need to change and how to make it happen.
Huffington mentioned a colleague who arrived one day at the office to realise she had forgotten to put on her skirt. She added that her own mother scolded her for reading emails whilst talking to her kids. Everyone has their own story.
Multi-tasking is in fact “task-switching”, says Huffington, which is one of the most stressful things you can do. This has finally been validated by modern (read: Eastern) science and we need to take action (or not!) now. One thing at a time please!
…and, actually just stop, completely!
We cannot always be “on”. Life is not work. Congratulating people for constantly working is like congratulating them for turning up to work drunk, says Huffington.
So: Turn off the lights, shut down the computer and go home for dinner with your kids.
Thanks Arianna. I think I’ll stop blogging now 🙂
- Tim Ferriss’ “4 Hour Body” for more science on sleep (book)
- My blog-post on the little voices in our head “I think therefore I am. Not.”
- Book “The One Thing” on the fact that “priorities” is a misuse of the word “priority”
- My blog-post “Burnout: Causes, Symptoms and Positive Action”