Thriving in a 24-7 World
We all know what it’s like to live in a 24-7 world. The portability of our cellphones and laptops allow us to communicate at any time, anywhere. What we aren’t taught is how to handle this constant pressure technology puts on us when we are demanded to stay constantly up to date. That’s where speaker, author, and sports psychologist Peter Jensen comes in.
Jensen’s resume, in a word, is impressive. He has attended eight Olympic games as a trainer for the Canadian Olympic team, is currently a instructor at the Queen’s Smith School of Business, the founder of Performance Coaching Inc., and has written three books, including his newest: Thriving in a 24-7 World.
Video: Peter Jensen talks about his roots
Jensen believes that somewhere in the late 1980s and early 1990s, folks really started getting busy, and a 24-7 world began.
Jensen begins his explanation about a 24-7 world by using the research of language specialist Dr. Ann Burnett. While thinking about how language determines our world, Burnett began to notice speech patterns in holiday letters she would receive around Christmas one year. She noticed than many of the letters discussed being strapped for time, or used terms like ‘time starved’ or ‘time famine.’ Burnett started asking coworkers and friends to send her their redacted holiday letters. As word spread of her collection, Burnett received letters by the thousands, some dating back to the 1960s.
“They were like an archive of the rise of busyness,” Jensen says. “She (found in the letters) an astonishing frequency of words like ‘hectic’ and ‘consumed.’ She (began) realizing that some writers were boasting about their busyness. (…) It’s like a badge of honor for some people. This ‘busier-than-thou’ attitude is pertinent now. Busyness became not just a way of life, but glamorous.”
Jensen believes that younger people are becoming more pressured to exist in a 24-7 world, due to the obvious: technology. Jensen saw this first hand while working with young athletes from Team Canada, and was surprised to hear that the athletes updated their software on their tablets and cell phones every month.
“When you look at the stats of how frequently people look at their devices, it’s shocking. The point I make to the athletes is that your devices have had so many upgrades, but what about the user? Have we ever thought about upgrading the user?”
Jensen is passionate about helping people learn how to manage their energy in a world with fast approaching deadlines and increasing workloads. “You can manage your time,” he explains. “But there’s still only 24 hours in a day. You’ve really got to take a look at what things you can do to better manage your energy.”
Jensen suggests picturing yourself and your energy as a thermostat rather than a thermometer. Rather than reacting to the environment like a thermometer, be a thermostat; you decide things like what you want to be, or where you need to be. In order to acquire energy, Jensen says that we can only use what we have. Sleep, good nutrition and great fitness levels are all factors that determine the pool of energy that is given to us to use. It is also important to look for times when you are being negative, critical, or hard on yourself. Those factors are clear energy drains.
Being in the ‘now’ is another important factor to thriving in a 24-7 world. However, having an impulse to immediately ‘share’ our experiences is a negative source of energy.
“When I’m working with the Olympic teams, I’m always saying to the kids ‘put your cell phones down and walk into the stadium. Just experience the moment,’ he tells me. “We’re not very good at that.”
Jensen explains that athletes are constantly shown different ways to deal with pressure. He feels that there is a lack of resources to help the stressed, on-the-go public.
“(Workers who are stressed) are going to have to become more resilient performers,” Jensen advises. “This person needs to turn stress and pressure into growth. The game is not going to change, and it’s faster pace. This is an in-your-face-world, and there’s so much more information to deal with. I don’t think we’ve adapted to it. Change is much more rapid than we could possibly, naturally, adapt to. We need to upgrade our software. We’ve upgraded our devices, now we need to upgrade ourselves.”
Jensen will be bringing his #thriving247 message across Canada in partnership with the Queen’s Smith School of Business. You can catch him here in Ottawa at the Westin Hotel on February 2nd.