Burned out? Stop optimizing time; sub-optimize instead

Saban: Leaders must have "the attitude of a champion" | practice (split each time) | Burned out? Stop optimizing time; sub-optimize instead
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January 12, 2024
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Leading the Way
Saban: Leaders must have "the attitude of a champion"
Saban (Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Nick Saban, who led the Alabama Crimson Tide to six national championships during his 17-year tenure, is retiring and leaves a leadership legacy characterized by personal involvement with his players and a micromanaging style "but with a purpose," writes Polina Pompliano. Saban lived his values in every way, Pompliano writes, adopting "the attitude of a champion" at work, home and play, and sought respect, not admiration, as a leader, saying, "If you want to make everyone happy, don't be a leader; sell ice cream."
Full Story: Substack/The Profile (1/10),  Yahoo (1/11) 
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Put it into practice: Saban relentlessly focuses on the future and needed improvements, allowing his team only 24 hours to celebrate a win before getting back to practice, writes Pompliano. "I don't care what you did yesterday," Saban says. "If you're happy with that, you have bigger problems."
SmartBrief on Leadership
Burned out? Stop optimizing time; sub-optimize instead
(Richard Drury/Getty Images)
The go-go-go business practices of the past don't work well today -- the burnout rate is soaring -- and such time optimization can strip away your energy, joy and chances to connect with others, as well as to innovate and collaborate, leadership expert Julie Winkle Giulioni writes. Ditch the arrogance of your optimization drive for the disciplined practice of making space for the unplanned and for attentiveness and serendipity, Winkle Giulioni advises.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (1/11) 
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Put it into practice: Take the counterintuitive route to bulging workloads by scheduling free time and "ferociously protecting" it to allow for thinking, connecting and "more organic exchange," Winkle Giulioni suggests. Eliminate distractions, amp up curiosity and view the world "with less judgment and more wonder."
Read more from Julie Winkle Giulioni on SmartBrief on Leadership
Smarter Communication
Having strong emotional intelligence is the key to interacting with others without being intimidated, writes corporate consultant and former CIA agent Rupal Patel, who has briefed people from presidents to aid workers. Effective communicators treat everyone -- not just VIPs -- with respect and kindness, and they realize that moving quickly beyond any awkwardness you exhibit earns respect from others.
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Put it into practice: Work your way up to presidential- or conference-level presentations with low-stakes speaking opportunities, such as a PTA meeting, Patel suggests. Prepare and practice out loud. And keep in mind the purpose behind the connection, whether sharing an idea or getting a promotion.
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Smarter Living
Get your mind and body right each Friday
When you work out could be affecting your results
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Research suggests that time of day may affect people's exercise outcomes, with circadian rhythms being at the heart of how well the body responds to physical activity. Investigators in Sweden say they have learned that choosing an optimal time of day to exercise could maximize benefits for people with metabolic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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Daily Diversion
Hosting a dinner party? Better hold the chips and nuts!
(Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
The basic rules of a dinner party -- have enough food and drink for everyone -- are not enough if you really want to impress your guests, and advice from party etiquette experts over the years ranges from the practical to the ridiculous. For instance, the magazine "Good Housekeeping" recommended that guests be lit well to avoid being in a "disagreeable or unbecoming shadow," Emily Post advised hosts to not invite too many "great talkers" and in his 1987 book, Canadian chef Michael Smith asserted, "It would be unthinkable to serve either crisps or nuts or twiglets."
Full Story: Eater (1/8) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
Which of these authors wrote the "Rabbit" series, which included "Rabbit, Run," "Rabbit Redux" and "Rabbit Is Rich"?
VoteRobert C. O'Brien
VoteBeatrix Potter
VoteUpton Sinclair
VoteJohn Updike
Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday, Jan. 15
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday, Jan. 15.
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About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
Julie Winkle Giulioni's suggestion to ditch optimization for "sub-optimization" to open up more space in your day for thinking and planning, as well as being open to serendipitous moments, hits home with me. While I was juggling this job along with my "part-time" (but time-consuming) job leading a spiritual community, optimization was my mantra. I worked seven days a week, even as I tried to work smarter and not harder. No wonder I burned out.

Now, with one main job to focus on daily, I have far more time for the pursuits that feed my soul. I have always played music and written songs, but now I have the time to delve into that further. I spent last weekend in an online songwriting intensive and realized I must step up my guitar-playing game (which will require more time).

I find I have to be careful, though, since my optimization habit could creep back in and kill the joy even in this endeavor. I'm forcing myself to go slower as my instincts tell me to pack in as much as possible.

Winkle Giulioni notes that practicing sub-optimization makes room for more curiosity and wonder. It helps to quiet the mind so you don't miss opportunities you would have rushed by when you were so busy. "And it demands redefining what success looks like -- moving beyond busyness to wholeness as the yardstick for effective and hard work," Winkle Giulioni concludes.

How about you? Are you optimizing all of your time? What new ideas or opportunities would come if you practiced a little sub-optimization? It may be time to find out.

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