There’s a disturbing new virus that is hitting at the core of every part of society. It’s called the tiredness virus and it’s something that we at Meta are committed to eradicating. There is no doubt that the tiredness virus is badly affecting organisations right now, it’s hitting the productivity of organisations very hard.

Why? Because tired people are NOT good for your organisation, nor are they good for anything! Think about it – when you’re tired:

  • Bad decisions get made
  • Awful mistakes happen
  • Office tempers flare up
  • Work seems harder to do
  • Efficiency is vastly reduced
  • Dealing with anyone is hard work
  • You end up being busy rather than being effective
  • The to-do list seems never-ending
  • And some days you feel like nothing has got done!

No-one is effective when they are tired, and everyone finds work and life more difficult.

Most people right now in the workplace are playing catch up with their sleep. They work longer hours than ever. With the wonders of smart phones and Blackberrys now, there is no escape from the office. You are being contacted at all hours and expected to respond at all hours. You probably live off coffee/tea/Red Bull at the moment and are rarely eating a proper lunch. Your body and your mind are tired, worn out and in need of some respite. Not because it’s a nice or right thing to do, (although it is the right thing to do) but because actually it makes sound business sense. If you are properly rested and you have filled your fuel tank properly, the by-product of that will be that you work more efficiently and more effectively.. And feel better for it!

So what can you do?

Well, if you are in a position of power within your organisation, realise that if you want more to be done in an effective way, you must allow people to have their personal time, to take their breaks, let them go home on time, and don’t email them at 12am – they’ll think you’ll expect a response.

If you’re a leader then lead by example. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and show how effective you can be with sleep. When you feel tired, stop and have a break. Give yourself a chance to refresh when your effectiveness quotient is down.

The best solutions, the most exciting innovations come from downtime and reflection time. How many times have you been stuck and then got up and moved around, or sat down and reflected, or even gone to the loo and had a moment of inspiration?? ‘Inspiration’ literally means to ‘breathe in’ and so if you haven’t even got time to breathe (and lets face it a lot of us are just too busy right now) then its not surprising that inspiration doesn’t come calling very often.

I work mentoring young people (16-18) in my old school and I’m seeing a worrying trend (in the last 5 years) which is that young people are becoming as tired and exhausted as their parent role models. They are also running beyond their natural limits. What kind of example are we setting our own sons and daughters if we are constantly tired, grumpy and over-worked?

The evidence shows that if you are well rested your brain functions better and you get more work done in less time. You are more effective after a decent night’s sleep and when you work more effectively more gets done.

So if you want to get on top of your to-do list, keep your organisation healthy, and set a good example to your work colleagues and your family, do a few simple things –clear yourself of the tiredness virus.

About Di Kamp

Di Kamp is chief executive of Meta and has been involved in the field of developing people and organisations for 35 years. She has worked with a variety of organisations, and specialises in enabling senior managers to guide their organisations from good enough to excellence, and enabling management teams to lead their people in a way that will enhance their performance. Di has written several books, including manuals for trainers, one on staff appraisals, one on workplace counselling, one on improving your excellence as a trainer, one on people skills, and one on being a 21st century manager. She is currently preparing a further book on the secret of sustainable successful organisations.

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