Alert and on the job – increase your value as an employee

In Finland, it’s customary to have your summer holiday in July, so it makes sense to think of recovery and alertness just as you’re about to enjoy your vacation or returning to the daily grind. This month, Sofokus Life focuses on the themes of energy and vitality.

CAN you recognize when you’re stressed or feeling alert?

We are flooded by information on a day by day basis. Unless we slow down and take some time to recover, our brain overheats as it’s bombarded by a constant stream messages. The endless hustle and bustle, stress and – as clichéd as it may sound – hurry may put our entire wellbeing and health at risk if we’re not careful.

It’s important that we recognize the dangers that are lurking in the shadows cleverly disguising themselves as things like perfectionism or “being good employees”. “I’ll just do this one more thing…”, “I’ll just answer this one email…” and “Sorry, can’t do lunch or coffee today…” are phrases that may be symptomatic of problems related to your alertness level and work management.

But what does alertness really mean? In Finnish, the dictionary definition lists the following synonyms: “Well-rested and ready to act, spirited, lively, vigorous, perky, full of energy.”

To put it simply, alertness equals efficiency.

But nobody can be efficient all the time, since the brain needs time to recover.

What do you do to recover?

Recovery refers to the intentional lowering of alertness levels, which aims to ensure that you stay creative and capable of prioritizing. Being able to control your alertness level is an extremely important skill, the significance of which gets highlighted during the workday. It’s not enough to doggedly push forward thinking that you’ll just “sleep faster” – as if that were possible. Instead, there should be enough time for recovery every day, and also during the day. It’s important to realize how you can do things with less stress and in a self-sparing way.

You can lower your alertness level or, in other words, your stress level in many different ways, and there’s no one right way of slowing down. You can ease off by listening to music, lying on the couch, doing some breathing exercises or even by enjoying some board games or playing on your PlayStation.

The most important thing is to get your mind off work and stressful things and have a little ‘me’ time. What works for me may not necessarily work for you, which is why everyone should find the best possible method of relaxation for themselves.

Prioritizing is a skill

It’s essential to learn how to focus your energy on the right things during the workday. Imperfection is something that everyone just needs to learn to cope with.

In the end, everything revolves around the ability to prioritize and organize your work tasks.

In today’s world, imperfection is the norm, as it helps in reacting to changes quickly. On the other hand, it may also sometimes cause unnecessary stress. Positive patterns of thinking and a positive attitude towards everything you do help you cope with the constant hurly-burly of work and are great tools when it comes to trying to learn not to worry too much. When you don’t let your worries get the best of you, you’ll feel lighter, too.

Here are five top tips for a more energetic workday:

Don’t overdo it

Sometimes mediocrity better than perfection. It’s often that we try to do things perfectly but end up perfecting the wrong things. The end result, then, is a lot of wasted time, frustration and exhaustion.

Learn to prioritize

Many times we concentrate on the wrong things during working hours and then end up working in our free time to make up for the time we’ve lost. In the long run, this kind of behavior leads to a burnout. At the same time, it makes you less efficient and leads to a foggy head.

Take a break

Go for a walk, ask people to join you for coffee or enjoy 10 minutes of shuteye. After your brain has had some other things to think about for a while, your thinking becomes a lot clearer.

Have a snack

If you keep your blood sugar steady, your brain will have enough energy, too. Generally speaking, a balanced and sufficient diet is a corner stone of alertness, so don’t forget to pay some attention to what you eat.

Exercise

Move around – also during the workday. It’s not enough to slay it at the gym for two hours if you end up sitting in the same position for the rest of the day. Our bodies are moving machines which is why even small changes in our working positions are important. Stand up, sit on a gym ball, stretch and move that tailfeather.

Summa summarun

An energetic employee is a better employee. You will never run out of things to do in this world but if you work too hard for too long, you’ll eventually wear yourself out. When you understand that your actions will not build the perfect world, you can let out a sigh of relief and just relax. Sometimes it’s really okay to cut yourself some slack, shut down your computer and take a break. That one email will still be waiting for you tomorrow.

With these words, this Captain of Carefreeness and General of Glee is off to recharge her batteries and vacay her cares away. Wishing everyone some sunny (vacation) days!