Discover the power of having fun to re-energize yourself and make you more effective at time and people management. In this video, Dave Crenshaw explores ways to build fun activities into your day to make you more efficient.
- Recently, I completed work on my fourth book, The Power of Having Fun. The premise is that too many of us are working too hard, plowing forward, in the hopes that someday, hopefully, it will all be worth it in the end. However, if we carve just a little time in our schedule each day, to enjoy fun moments, not only will our work be worth it now, today, but our performance will improve, as well. Now this is a topic that would take a full course to cover, so I just want to provide a couple of simple tests for you to engage in as a manager.
This experiment is designed to help you improve your performance, and the performance of your team. First, plan small, fun breaks for yourself each day. Find something that you enjoy. Even if it's only for five to 15 minutes, and schedule it into your day. Make it a top priority to go for a walk, or watch a funny video, or listen to a favorite song. Me, I like to play a video game.
Protect that appointment like you would one with your boss or your best client. Treat it as sacred, and when the time comes, do it, and enjoy it. Now if you're trying to figure out when to schedule these fun moments, look at an interval of about every 90-120 minutes. This is because there's something called the ultradian rhythm. Now you may have heard of the circadian rhythm, how we work and sleep throughout the day.
But the ultradian rhythm says that, roughly every 90-120 minutes, we need a break. There's a maximum amount of performance that we can get during that time, until we need to refresh ourselves. So try to find a couple of places in your day, where you can schedule these small breaks. Then, after you enjoy that little fun activity each day, take note on its impact on your performance in the hours afterward. I believe you will find, as my coaching clients and many others have found, that your performance will experience a significant uptick.
There's actually a lot of hard research behind this phenomenon, but for now, be your own scientist, and confirm it with your own experiment. Second, after you've experienced the power of having fun for yourself, begin encouraging your team members to test it out, as well. Especially do this if you see their performance start to falter due to fatigue. Again, the idea is to encourage them to take a brief, five to 15 minute break, to do something that's purely fun and recreational.
While you can suggest something if nothing comes to their mind, make sure it's their choice, though, and not yours, this will have greater impact for them. When you try these two experiments, I believe you will see the same result that I see each week in my coaching clients. Continuing to push past the point of boredom and fatigue results in decreased performance over time, as much as a 50 percent drop in output. However, a 10 minute, fun, harmless diversion, regardless of whether it's active, like running, or passive, like watching a video, can restore a person's functionality to near 100 percent.
Would you rather a team member work for another two hours at 50 percent capacity, or would you rather have them take a 10 minute break to do something fun and frivolous, and then return to 100 percent capacity, for 110 minutes? Now if what I'm suggesting is against the norm of how things are done at your company, conduct this as a personal case study. Measure your progress and performance, then share your results with your supervisors.
Few people want to put their neck on the line for your wonderful little test. They need evidence. Consider this your opportunity to test the power of having fun, with your team.
In this course, best-selling author Dave Crenshaw offers managers at all levels practical strategies for efficient time management. Dave covers time management best practices for managing people, including delegating tasks, managing expectations, and establishing productive one-on-one meetings. He also provides helpful tips for managing projects, including how to coordinate multiple projects, allocate scarce resources, hold a team accountable to deadlines, and communicate deadline changes when necessary. Additionally, Dave covers how to manage priorities, including using your calendar as a prioritization tool, keeping your meetings action-focused, and shifting priorities when the need arises.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Delegating effectively
- Establishing 1:1 meetings
- Managing expectations
- Focusing on people
- Setting a good example
- Training others
- Coordinating multiple projects
- Allocating resources
- Holding others accountable to deadlines
- Communicating changes
- Prioritizing tasks
- Managing your calendar
- Keep meetings action-focused