We arrived home after a stroll in the park only to find the mortice lock on our front door broken and we couldn’t get in. It was metal fatigue, according to the locksmith we had to call out (on Boxing Day no less!). The metal in the mechanism broke for no particular reason. It had just become worn. Overworked. It simply snapped.
It made me think about how many of us unknowingly suffer from fatigue particularly when performing the same tasks or activities day after day. What’s the potential result? The idea of someone breaking, like our front door lock (It) doesn’t bear to think about it.
So many of us go into the office without a thought for how we get there, we are on autopilot, not paying much attention to how we’re feeling or what’s going on around us. We grab a coffee (or tea) and get on with the day. Many of us will have already responded to several emails, maybe probably on an overcrowded late running train. We arrive in the office already feeling tired, hence the caffeine hit to help us perform throughout the day.
The day continues like this, we are lucky if we move much from our desks or the board room table, we might go out to grab a quick bite for lunch, then carry on with our work until we go home, eat, read more emails (whilst watching telly) and eventually go to bed. We are lucky to get 7 hours sleep and we start all over again. Sound familiar?
All of this is causing many of us fatigue, some of us have many other pressures that add to this exhaustion and yet we carry on.
There are many things that can help to overcome day to day fatigue, although it will be different for each of us. By changing one thing you do, even something as simple as taking a different route into work or choosing a different carriage on the train will help give a different perspective. It helps to break the cycle and rather than operating on autopilot provides thought and intention to your actions. In other words, creating awareness.
Being aware and intentional helps promote productivity and therefore performance. It has the additional benefit of reducing fatigue.
Perhaps the festive period, certainly in many Western countries where most businesses shut down, is the only real opportunity for us to switch off. It’s the time when people are ‘allowed’ to spend time with their families and there is a general understanding that people are not working. And that reduction in fatigue can make it less likely to reach breaking point. Unlike our door lock.
Who would have thought metal fatigue could be so interesting?
If you want to improve your performance and overcome fatigue, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.