There are of course the usual suspects you would expect: alcohol, drugs, late nights, stress, anxiety. But what about some of the other ones you may not even think of such as, prescription medicine, marriage, relationships, what you eat and drink.
Let’s take the biggie that most people think of… stress. According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) ‘Stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for the majority of days lost due to work-related ill health, 11.3 and 8.3 million days respectively’.
I think those figures would be greater if they also included other problems also caused by stress: migraines, nausea, fatigue. The figures would be greater still if they also included days lost through poor performance.
The morning after the night before, birthday nights out, rather eventful business lunches, all night sessions are all responsible for a huge number of days lost through poor performance and I am sure there are many others who know the results of these events only too well, especially with the festive season up on as having started already in some cases.
Prescription medicine may seem like a strange one but it certainly has its place here insomuch as people taking medicines that can affect their ability to think coherently such as painkillers or anti-depressants and the factor is multiplied when mixed with alcohol.
Marital problems and relationships also hinder our ability to work at our best and I’m sure we’ve all been affected by these in some shape or form, whether it was being unable to concentrate properly because the new girl in accounts wouldn’t go out with you or the wife cut the arms and legs off your suit because you had gone on another ‘business’ night out again. Believe me, that happened to someone I know well.
And how about the smallest word that can cause the biggest problems…..our old friend the ego. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s seen the guy who spends too much time focusing on his own personal targets and results rather than the good of the team or the company.
I believe the biggest problem in our performance is without doubt our thinking. or rather lack of it.
How about the guy who has to get a couple of cents more on a deal or a bigger discount to look good to his client but in reality his client would have been happy to get the deal done a long while back and move on with the next onel.
What we eat and what we drink can also affect our performance. I can hear many of you now saying ‘I can’t function in the morning without a double espresso or my double macciato latte’ or similar. But in reality being dependant on a stimulant for performance will affect your adversely in the long term.
The same thing applies with energy drinks. They may get you on track but being loaded with caffeine and sugar and other chemicals is a cocktail disaster waiting to happen. The crash that follows is enough to put you off for good but usually it’s another hit that gets you going again.
It’s been calculated that just after 3pm is the time of day most people start waning and feel fatigued. This could be down to a number of factors including lack of sleep, stress, as well as eating sugar laden or simple carbohydrates for lunch like sandwiches, pasta or pizza etc rather than healthier more easily digestible foods and water. The affects are even greater if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
It may be only one thing that is affecting your performance but if there are several, then the effects can be quite detrimental. The biggest thing is being aware about it and then actually doing something about it.