The New Permissiveness

By LeAnna J. Carey | Aug 06, 2012

The New Permissiveness

No. I'm not reflecting on the 60's.  I'm reflecting on the unrelenting and swirling change causing many of us to clutch our calendars as if grasping for time itself.  Perhaps we have been too permissive with our time - letting others have it, watching stupid TV, or focusing only on the time we have at work.  Here is my question for you; which is your most significant enabler - time or health - which would you choose?  If you thought "I don't have time to think about my health," you are not alone - our daily schedules reflect our priorities and control over our schedules need not be elusive.  

Here are a few clues that you are being too permissive with your time:

  • Take a look at your schedule these past two weeks - how much of that time went to  helping others fulfill their goals with your time?  The time demand of others can rob you of precious time to think about what's next for you, or recognize and respond to signals that will keep you healthy competitive, and confident.  For example, in a survey by Perlow and Porter, posted in Harvard Business Review reviewed that professionals believed that the, “always on” ethic is essential if they and their firms are to succeed in the global marketplace. Just look at the numbers: According to a survey we conducted last year, 94% of 1,000 such professionals said they put in 50 or more hours a week, with nearly half that group turning in more than 65 hours a week. That doesn’t include the 20 to 25 hours a week most of them spend monitoring their BlackBerrys while outside the office.  One of their observations was that responsiveness breeds the need for more responsiveness without considering how to work more effectively without considering how they could work better.  
  • How much television are you watching?  A study that appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association*, researchers combined data from eight such studies and found that for every additional two hours people spend glued to the tube on a typical day, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 20% and their risk of heart disease increases by 15%.*  Will you even remember that show anyway in two weeks?
  • How much time did you spend on planning your downtime compared to your work time?  If your time orientation is directed only toward working hours this will eventually impact your productivity - but more importantly, you are missing out - we are all subject to the same 24 hours and giving equal importance to your non work hours will keep you healthy.    

Consider that we have a continuum of choices related to our schedules everyday as to what we permit to derail us.  The time demands are not going away any time soon!

*Television Viewing and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and All-Cause Mortality” by Anders Grøntved and Frank B. Hu that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2011;305(23):2448-2455

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