12 Principles of Personal Leadership: Principle 8 - Simple Diversions

great leaders use simple diversions to manage stress and remain healthy
Do you feel like your life is all work and no play? Not only is that an unfulfilling way to go through life, it can also make us self-absorbed and miserable with few true friends and an absence of real fulfillment.

The problem with being obsessed with your career or other accomplishments is that they will never be enough. Even when accomplishments are made, the satisfaction is quickly overshadowed by what is still waiting to be done. This leaves little time to enjoy life and the blessings that you have been given.

How Stress Affects Your Leadership Ability

The human brain is an incredible organ designed to solve challenging problems and multiple tasks. What we sometimes overlook is the fact that our brains also need to be refreshed periodically.

Cutting-edge research on worry (overthinking) and stress reveals a lot. Stress causes the following:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Strained heart tissue caused by surges of stress hormones
  • Depression

This sounds pretty ominous. However, research also shows that stepping away from stressful environments to perform diversionary tasks helps people recover more quickly to original healthy levels in the short term.

But it seems that diverting ourselves in today’s world is harder than ever. With devices that offer unlimited accessibility and expanding work weeks, we often find it difficult to detach from our work responsibilities.

Diversions and Effective Leadership

People from all levels of society have become comfortable with one-dimensional lives. They have become emotionally unbalanced due to obsessions with work, music, sports, and even religion.  While each of these activities are great and add dimension to life they can lead to isolation, self-centeredness, and  a warped perspective of what life is all about when overdone. Lasting joy and happiness occur when we  share our lives with others.

We all need simple, refreshing diversions in our stressful lives to maintain proper perspective and maximize our time management and personal productivity each day. Examples like this may include:

1.     Taking time to enjoy your family

2.       Playing some sports

3.       Taking a walk

4.       Reading for pleasure

5.       Meditating

6.       Going to the gym

7.       Enjoying a favorite hobby

8.       Calling a friend to chat

9.       Volunteering in your community

10.   Spend time with a pet

11.   Watch a funny show or movie

The list goes on and on. The important thing is to find what makes you happy. Try to regularly schedule meaningful distractions into your life and consider them as important as any other thing that you do.

How Frequently Should We Take Breaks?

First, you should take a number of breaks during the work day. People often skip breaks thinking that it will lead to increased productivity, but the opposite is true. Being focused on a single task for too long can squelch creativity and become monotonous. It can even become a safety hazard in some industries. Short breaks, however, offer our minds a refreshing change of scenery and allow us to reboot so that we can return to our work reinvigorated.

You should have weekly breaks. Take at least one day a week to break the work cycle, enjoy yourself and recharge your batteries for the coming week. This will allow you to break from the workaholic tendencies that our society has. To dismiss the importance of the weekly occurrence is to rob yourself of the richness and fulfillment provided by spending quality time with people you love and activities you enjoy.

Take your vacations, even if they are only “staycations!” Years down the road, your family and friends won’t be bragging about your success at work. Rather, they will remember that you were too busy to go on family vacations or spend quality time with them.

Balance and Leadership Qualities

To have a balanced leadership approach, it is important to use simple diversions to maintain a good work/life balance and keep your mind refreshed so that you can reach your full potential and effectively form and maintain relationships with others. 

Leadership Excellence is committed to providing leadership training to individuals and organizations. Whether you are interested in personal life coaching, business coaching, sales strategies, effective communication techniques, team building /staff development training, personal productivity or time management, we have a personalized approach to get you real results. Learn more about our professional leadership training services here or get a REQUEST A QUOTE/GET MORE INFORMATION ONLINE.

Check out the free resources at our site and our sister site, weLEAD.org, for insight from a variety of leadership experts and thought leaders.