My company recently implemented a Leadership Development program. The first part of the program involved taking a set of required courses from Lynda.com. I’ve been in a management position for 10+ years. I figure at this point, I know what I’m doing. What am I possibly going to get out of a handful of courses?
Figure out my strengths and weaknesses? Done. I am really good at all of the tactical parts of my job and want to focus more on strategic items like innovation. Use a To-Do List? I am the Queen of To-Do lists! Ask me any time, and I can show you my To-Do list with work items on one side and personal ones on the other. Meet with my employees regularly to review projects and talk about goals? Done. I have weekly meetings with my direct reports. Make time to exercise and play in order to reduce stress and be more creative? Wait… what?
In her Lynda.com course “Leadership Fundamentals,” Britt Andreatta talks about exercise and play as key components in a strategy of sustainability. Engaging in exercise as well as play time helps us manage our emotions, reduce stress and become more resilient.
I hate to exercise. I like the thought of it, but in practice, not so much. I even have a Pinterest board for it with a lot of tips on exercises I can do in a hotel room since I travel frequently. But do I actually make time for it? No. I don’t want to exercise first thing in the morning because I need my sleep. I don’t have time to exercise at lunch because I’m wrapped up in tasks and can’t get away. By the end of the day, I’m busy with dinner or helping my kids with homework and am too tired to even think about exercising.
I made a plan to start setting aside 30 minutes three times a week for either exercise or play. I’ve found it’s easiest for me to exercise when I’m on the road. All I need is a treadmill in my hotel fitness center and iHeart Radio, and I’m good to go. The first time I did this, I texted a friend and said, “Guess what? It’s 5:30am and I’m in the FITNESS CENTER!” When I was home, I started riding bikes with my son in the evening. While my family was on vacation, we hiked through the woods.
Britt Andreatta stated that it takes about 40 repetitions of a new behavior to change habits. I’ve successfully met my goal for the last 10 weeks, whether I’ve been at home or on the road. When I was frustrated with a situation at work, I hopped on a treadmill. If I had a problem to solve, I shot hoops in our driveway while I thought about my options. And I made sure to check that “30 minutes of activity” box on my To-Do list at least 3 times a week.
I’ve found that exercise calms me down, clears my head, and allows my mind to wander (in a good way). I outlined this article at 6:00am on a treadmill. I thought of ways to implement requirements for a new product into our existing screen designs while working out after a long day of meetings. And I lost a few pounds in the process.