Eat Sleep Work Repeat | Bruce Daisley

Summary of: Eat Sleep Work Repeat: 30 Ways to Fix Your Work Culture and Fall in Love with Your Job Again
By: Bruce Daisley


In ‘Eat Sleep Work Repeat,’ Bruce Daisley delves into the widespread issue of workplace unhappiness and its detrimental impact on our health, well-being, and productivity. The book summary explores how stress affects creativity, the consequences of employee disengagement, and the exhausting nature of overwork, constant connectivity, and distractions. The summary also presents practical solutions and changes to foster workplace happiness through stronger relationships with colleagues, creating a conducive work environment, and more.

The High Cost of Workplace Unhappiness

Workplace unhappiness is a pervasive issue that significantly impacts our health, well-being, and productivity. The stress from work not only makes life unpleasant but also takes a toll on both our physical and mental health, manifested in ailments such as hair loss, weight fluctuations, and increased rates of chronic diseases. Consequently, this leads to decreased job performance, with happy workers being 22 percent more productive than unhappy ones. Addressing workplace unhappiness should be a priority, as it affects not only workers’ overall quality of life but also the success of businesses.

Unhappiness in the workplace seems to be an all-too-common sentiment, with a staggering 83 percent of American employees reporting work-related stress, over half of British workers feeling burnt out, and most people around the globe ranking work as their second least favorite daily activity. However, the issue goes much deeper than with just our emotions. Workplace unhappiness has serious consequences on our health, well-being, and productivity.

A job riddled with stress and pressure does not only make life miserable but wreaks havoc on our mental and physical health alike. Alexandra Michel’s study at the University of Southern California presents evidence of this, revealing that investment bankers working 15-hour days experienced hair loss, drastic weight changes, insomnia, and panic attacks. As their careers progressed, these professionals faced increased rates of diabetes, heart issues, and even cancer. Furthermore, they reported higher rates of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Should these alarming health issues not be enough reason for concern, this unhappiness has profound negative effects on one’s job performance. After all, a healthy and content worker is a more productive worker. A study conducted by Warwick University discovered that happy workers are 22 percent more productive than those who are unhappy. Moreover, stress-induced symptoms, such as lack of sleep, can lead to an increased rate of errors and poor decision-making in the workplace.

This connection between unhappiness, health issues, and decreased job performance has been observed across various sectors, including healthcare and the military. Still, one does not need scientific research to acknowledge the simple truth that it is challenging to focus when fatigued, stressed, or unhappy.

Given the adverse effects of workplace unhappiness on employees’ health, well-being, and job performance, it is crucial to address and combat this prevalent issue. By promoting happiness and well-being, employers can give employees a better quality of life while strengthening the overall success of their businesses.

Stress: Creativity’s Kryptonite

Stress is often considered a productivity enhancer, but contrary to popular belief, it has detrimental effects on creativity. When faced with pressure, the brain’s fear system activates, hindering our ability to explore new ideas and take risks. This leads to playing it safe, which stifles innovation, a driving factor in today’s economy.

If you’ve ever heard someone say they excel under stress, you might wonder if there’s a grain of truth to it. After all, intense deadlines and looming pressures can push us to hustle through our work. However, closing in on the reality of the situation, stress turns out to be our creativity’s worst nemesis.

We may feel as if our creativity ignites under stress, but digging deeper, we’ll find it’s a deceiving sensation. Research conducted by Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, reveals the adverse effects of stress on our creative prowess. Office workers, subjected to time pressure, rated their creativity higher than their actual output. In reality, their creative thinking plummeted with increased time constraints.

What drives this counterintuitive outcome? The answer lies in our brain’s intricate balance. Creativity thrives when we embrace novel ideas and venture into the unknown. While stress can offer an adrenaline-fueled boost to our brain, it simultaneously ignites our fear system. Consequently, our brain’s exploratory and risk-taking capabilities take a backseat, leaving us reluctant to innovate.

This unfortunate effect of stress is apparent in various artistic fields, too. Take the “sophomore slump” phenomenon where musical artists face difficulty outshining their debut albums. For instance, The Strokes, a renowned New York City rock band, had a sensational first album, Is This It, in 2001. The immense pressure to deliver an encore led to setbacks and resulted in their follow-up album, Room on Fire (2003) receiving lukewarm reception. Critics felt the band played it safe, recycling old ideas instead of experimenting.

Reflecting upon Amabile’s study and The Stroke’s example, chasing comfort in familiarity sabotages creativity. Innovation necessitates breaking free from old patterns, exploring novel territories, and leaving the safe harbor behind. Today, in an economic landscape where originality holds the key to success, stress hindering creativity should be a genuine concern.

It’s time we reconsider our approach to stress as a driving force and acknowledge its damaging impact on creativity. To harness our imaginative powers, we need to let go of pressure and embrace the freedom to explore, innovate, and develop courageous new ideas. Fear should never dictate how we navigate the journey towards creativity.

Boosting Employee Engagement

When workplace stress and unhappiness take over, businesses suffer reduced productivity and creativity. A significant number of modern workers face disengagement, which means they lack enthusiasm for their jobs and fail to connect with their employers. This disengagement negatively impacts companies as many employees do not put forth discretionary effort – the additional work beyond the bare minimum – that is essential for businesses to thrive. In contrast, organizations that invest in creating positive employee experiences can enjoy higher engagement, increased profits, and innovation. To achieve happier and more productive employees, it’s crucial to identify the causes of workplace unhappiness and find effective solutions.

The consequences of workplace unhappiness are manifold, with decreased productivity, creativity, and employee engagement among the worst effects. Over half of US employees find themselves detached from their jobs and employers, unable to dedicate themselves wholly to their work. Disengagement hampers businesses and prevents employees from giving their best.

Discretionary effort, a term used to describe the additional work an employee willingly provides beyond their basic responsibilities, is key to a company’s success. Engaged employees are more likely to put in discretionary effort, driven by a sense of connection to their organization and enthusiasm for their work. Without this, most employees will simply do the minimum required to get their paycheck and call it a day.

Companies that prioritize positive employee experiences have been found to reap incredible benefits. Not only do such companies have higher employee engagement levels, but their profits surge up to four times per employee, compared to the average organization. These companies are also 28 times more likely to be featured on Fast Company’s prestigious “Most Innovative Companies” list.

The bottom line is that happy, relaxed, and engaged employees make for a healthy, productive, creative, and dedicated workforce. This is a win-win for both employers and employees. To reach this outcome, companies must pinpoint the issues causing workplace unhappiness and devise strategies to overcome them.

Escaping the Hurry Sickness

An overwhelming majority of individuals feel trapped in an endless cycle of work, stressed by long hours and constant connectivity. This modern condition, known as “hurry sickness,” stems from excessive workload, an inability to take breaks, and continuous distractions from digital communication tools. The hectic work culture interrupts focused work and invades personal time, leading professionals to stay connected and consumed by work much longer than necessary, ultimately resulting in exhaustion.

Feeling restless and unable to switch off from work is a common sentiment that many of us can relate to. A persistent nagging belief that we must always be accomplishing tasks and meeting deadlines prevents us from experiencing peace in both our professional and personal lives. This relentless drive to stay occupied is fueled by the modern workplace, marked by an epidemic known as hurry sickness.

The roots of hurry sickness run deep in our contemporary work culture, stemming from extensive work hours, constant connectivity, and an infinite stream of distractions. Beyond clocking in long days and working through the weekend, the problem also lies in how we manage our time and work habits.

The pervasive pressure to remain constantly active compels us to avoid breaks and push ourselves past our limits. In the typical office environment, we become slaves to our desks, attempting to complete a never-ending to-do list. However, the tasks we so desperately try to accomplish constantly change due to interruptions and distractions.

Digital communication tools, such as email and instant messaging, have become both a blessing and a curse in the modern workplace. Although these technologies allow us to maintain easy contact with colleagues, they also serve as relentless sources of distraction. The average office worker now sends and receives approximately 200 emails daily, on top of countless texts, chats, and phone calls that command their attention. If these virtual disruptions weren’t enough, open-plan offices further contribute to in-person interruptions that hinder productivity.

Despite our best efforts, deadlines loom larger and work piles up. We are perpetually pulled away from the task at hand by incessant distractions and our work never seems to end. Even at home, work-related messages continue to fill our screens, demanding our attention and leaving us bleary-eyed and exhausted.

This state of perpetual connectivity and weariness is surprisingly widespread. In fact, 60 percent of professionals remain connected to their work for approximately 13.5 hours on weekdays and an additional 5 hours over the weekend, totaling 70 hours each week. It is no wonder that the feeling of exhaustion and burnout persists, as our modern working culture pushes us to the brink and leaves little time for recovery.

Recharge Your Work-Weary Soul

Feeling drained in a constantly connected world? Some simple changes can help you recharge your energy and invigorate your workday. It’s not rocket science; it’s just a matter of breaking the monotony with a few easy adjustments. Here are four suggestions: manage your email notifications, spend lunch breaks with colleagues, take regular walks, and maximize the benefits of those walks by engaging in walking meetings.

First, let’s liberate ourselves from the chains of our email inbox. Try turning off email notifications on your phone and computer, and schedule designated times to check your inbox. This will help break the habit of obsessively glancing at your email the moment a notification pops up, freeing your mind from unnecessary distractions.

Next, reclaim your lunch break by spending it with your colleagues instead of grabbing a quick bite alone. Avoiding those skipped or solitary lunches is crucial to maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Having a satisfying meal with others can boost not only your physical energy but also your happiness, as social interactions release feel-good endorphins into the brain.

Now, let’s get moving – take a walk! Research at Stanford University revealed that a simple walk can boost your creativity and concentration. So why not prioritize some physical activity during your workday? Your body and your brain will thank you.

Finally, upgrade your walk by making it a walking meeting with a coworker. These meetings involve discussing work-related problems while walking with the aim of clarifying thoughts by simply talking it out. A brisk walk for seven minutes to half an hour can do wonders for your thought process and focus. Give it a try!

Incorporate these four simple strategies into your daily routine and rejuvenate your drained energy levels. By taking these easy steps, you can transform your work experience into a more pleasant, productive, and energized affair.

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