Fabulous Futures Blog

Leadership Zen: Top Tips for Cultivating a More Productive Life
Leader using mindset to improve effectiveness

Hello, you fabulous leader! Today, let’s dive into something we all experience but rarely discuss openly: anxiety and productivity in leadership. Especially in senior management roles, anxiety can be your constant companion. But fear not—read on to explore how you can simply transform that anxiety into a calm, productive energy. Ready? Let’s go!

Understanding Senior Leadership Anxiety

First of all, let’s acknowledge that anxiety in senior leadership is real, common and noting to be ashamed of. According to a study by the Anxiety and Depression Association, 72% of people who have daily stress and anxiety say it interferes with their lives at least moderately. As leaders, the pressures of high-stakes decisions, managing teams, and meeting organisational goals can lead to significant anxiety.

Quote to Ponder: “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

Practical Mindset Shifts

In my experience the BEST approach to tackling anxiety is by shifting your mindset. Instead of seeing every challenge as a potential disaster, why not view it as an opportunity for growth. Easier said than done, I hear you say, right? Here are some, tried and tested, practical tips that will help:

Balanced Breathing: Before jumping into your endless to-do list, take a few gentle breaths, deep down into your belly. Inhale for six counts through the nose, and exhale for six counts through the nose. This simple exercise can instantly reduce anxiety and clear your mind.

Mindfulness and Meditation: Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Even just a few minutes of focusing on the here and now can make a difference. Apps like Headspace or Calm can guide you through short sessions tailored to busy schedules.

Gratitude Journaling: Spend a few minutes each day writing down three things you’re grateful for. It shifts your focus from what’s wrong to what’s right, switching up your internal chemicals that can significantly improve your mood.

Remember: “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.” – Glenn Turner

 

Holistic Health Tips

Anxiety isn’t just in your mind—it affects your entire physical body. Taking care of your health is crucial for managing anxiety. Let’s talk about a few key areas to focus on:

Gut Health: Believe it or not, your gut plays a big role in your mental health. According to research, the gut-brain axis shows that a healthy gut can lead to reduced anxiety. Eat a balanced diet rich in fibre, probiotics (like yogurt and kimchi), and stay well hydrated.

Exercise: Regular physical activity is a powerful anxiety reducer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. This could be a brisk walk, a session at the gym, or even gardening. Speaking of which…

Contact with your environment: Connect with nature. It’s a fantastic way to relax, get some exercise, and reconnect with the world around you. It reminds your nervous system about what’s important and allows you to start feeling you belong again.

I often think of the quote: “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn

 

Time Management and Delegation

Often, anxiety in leadership stems from you feeling overwhelmed. Effective time management and delegation can alleviate this. You are the creator of time; these tips may help you create more of it:

Prioritise Tasks: Use tools like the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks by urgency and importance. Focus on high-priority items first. Lose the need for micro-management, its a killer of engagement, productivity and effectiveness.

Delegate: Trust your team and delegate tasks. Remember, delegation isn’t about offloading work; it’s about empowering others and leveraging their strengths. Achieve MORE together.

Take Breaks: Plan to take regular breaks. The Pomodoro Technique—working for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break—can enhance productivity and reduce anxiety. Nose to the grindstone isn’t always the best policy.

Let this digest: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler

 

Creating a Supportive Environment

A positive work environment is essential for managing anxiety:

Open Communication: Foster a culture where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Open communication can prevent misunderstandings and reduce stress.

Support Network: Build a support network both at work and in your personal life. Having people to talk to can make a huge difference.

Humour and Fun: Don’t underestimate the power of humour. Laughter is a great stress reliever. Share a joke, a funny story, or even plan fun activities with your team. When was thr last tie you had a proper belly laugh???

Keep this is mind: “Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle

 

Conclusion

Anxiety is a part of life, especially in the world of leadership, but it doesn’t have to control your life. By shifting your mindset, taking care of your holistic health, managing your time effectively, and creating a supportive environment, you can transform anxiety into a source of strength and productivity.

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Embrace these strategies, have a good laugh, and keep moving forward. As your informed, trusted friend, I’m here to remind you: you’ve got this!

Quote to Leave You With: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Stay calm, fabulous, and lead on!

I’ve been Jeff Kidner, Mindset Coach and ANXIETY specialist. If, after putting these tips into action, you still feel you need some assistance to allow your true brilliance to shine, let’s talk. It’s time to press delete on ANXIETY and be the person you were born to be.