If you recall the collapse of the Berlin Wall or having to show up in person to register for college courses, I’ll bet you’ve thought more than once that Millennials and their successors, Generation Z, could learn a thing or two about hard work. Heck, if you remember a time when loved ones could join you at your flight gate or know what the Y2K hysteria was all about you’ve probably side-eyed your share of Insta-obsessed teens (I have, let’s be honest). What you haven’t done, I’ll wager, is consider that the younger generation could teach you at least as much as you, them.
Introducing Work-Life Imbalance
Today’s rising workforce doesn’t know what a workday is… and that’s a good thing. Kind of. Failure to leave work at work has made it clearer than ever that your personal wellbeing is directly linked to your professional wellbeing. When your waking hours are your working hours, self-care rituals come to play an intimate role in productivity. Even if you do still work a 9-5, understanding the essential role of healthy habits in allowing you to bring your best is critical to good leadership.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of ’97…
Baz Lurhman’s hit rendition of Mary Schmich’s essay, commonly referred to as “The Sunscreen Song,” said it well. For those that cannot recall the tune, or who need of a refresher updated for the 21st-Century, below are twenty tweaks to your routine that will make you not only a better leader, but a better person.
1. Read. Not just social media posts or viral articles but good, old-fashioned books. Aim for one a month.
2. Set goals. Break them down by week, month, and year. Review them at the end of each period.
3. Silence your phone when sharing time with loved ones.
4. Be kind. Do all you can to treat those you touch with consideration.
5. Reflect. Write in a notebook trusting that no-one will read it. Empty your thoughts so that you might understand them.
6. Listen more, talk less. Rarely is an opinion so urgent that it is worth overriding another’s voice.
7. Sleep as if your life depended on it. Prioritize rest; do not boast of how little you get.
8. Talk to strangers (when appropriate). You’ll brighten your day, you’ll brighten theirs, and from time to time you’ll learn something unforgettable.
9. Share your dreams. This is the first step to making them reality and a great way to inspire others.
10. Dress up (in whatever way you like). You bring out your best when you feel your best. That jacket that makes you feel sexy is not only for special occasions.
11. Answer your emails as soon as you open them. Make this a rule and forgive yourself when you break it.
12. Approach every decision, big or small, intending to be a person of integrity.
13. Every once in a while, take time to think about where you were a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago and notice your accomplishments. Congratulate yourself. Keep going.
14. Don’t read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
15. Talk when you are in pain, even if it’s minor. Knowing that you have people in your life who support you will allow you to offer the same to others.
16. Walk whenever you are able. Your body was made to move and will be happier when you let it do so.
17. Place your phone in another room when you sleep. At the very least, do not let it be the last thing you look at before you lay down.
18. Commit one moment of each day to relaxing fully.
19. Consider time your most precious resource. Spend it well.
20. Wear sunscreen.
If you find a way to master all this, tell me how. Meanwhile, enjoy the extra energy offered by each little tweak and trust that a better you makes you a better leader.
And yes, if you’re came here looking for something a little more specific, we’ve got that too. Consider signing up for our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround, a targeted course designed to instill better habits in all members of a law firm’s team.