If there’s one field more competitive and cut-throat than business, it’s sports.

Just like professionals in all other walks of life, pro sportsmen and women go to work and give 100% effort because they want to be rewarded (with pay, respect, awards) and because exercising their professional skills gives them satisfaction. The difference is in addition to their reputation and skills, athletes are also putting their body on the line. Fatigue, chronic exhaustion and overtraining lead to mistakes – and it only takes a single mistake resulting in injury to end a career. That’s why coaches and sports psychologists prioritise a whole raft of relaxation techniques.

Don’t risk the burnout

Corporate careers and management roles expose you to similar risks: decisions have to be made in real time, and the consequences can be serious and irreversible.

Making finance management decisions while exhausted or stressed, risks making mistakes and undoing the good work you’ve done when at your best. It’s true being driven is one of the ingredients to success, and you might think you cannot afford to relax – but ask yourself: can you afford the days (or weeks) off work through ill-health?

Between 60% and 90% of medical office visits are stress related, and relaxation is the number one antidote to stress.

Don’t project manage your life

Hitting goals, meeting deadlines and delivering on our promises.

These are areas where it is right (and often unavoidable) to give up some sleep, miss out on family time, and maybe even push on, even when it risks your health. All these situations have goals – they are temporary: once the project is complete, the deadline is met, or the promise is delivered, life goes back to ‘normal’.

What is unhealthy (and unsustainable) is allowing the state of deadline-stress to infect our daily lives. It becomes the depressing new normal. What I am trying to say is, project manage your projects, not your life!

Be driven to relax!

It’s not a contradiction. There are three pathways to harness your drive to increase your relaxation and health:

First, plan, and then work efficiently, so you have free time “in the bank”.

Second, learn about relaxation techniques (such as mindfulness) and master at least one.

Third, outsource stressful tasks like finance management, which will both free up time to relax, and leave you with less on your mind when you do so!

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Jay Stephens
Lead Thought Provoker
Jay began his career in London with Rabobank, CLS bank and a Lloyd’s of London syndicate. Jay’s work has spanned corporate communications, content editing, newspaper articles, courseware, blogging, policy drafting, technical writing, and a regular crossword. He is passionate about 8-bit tunes, self-improvement, and the Oxford comma.