High Achievers Who Want to Be Healthy, this one’s for you

Dec 13, 2023

High Achievers Who Want to Be Healthy, this one’s for you

Is work getting in the way of your wellness? 

Before I was so interested in feeling better and living healthier, my primary concern was working smarter and being as efficient and effective as possible in my job.

I was immediately drawn to any article, book, or podcast that I thought would help me be more productive or “hack” my way toward better results. 

As I began to pay more attention to my wellness, it felt like those high achiever habits were in conflict with creating healthy habits. 

Long work nights meant sacrificing sleep, limited time and low energy caused me to crave and justify quick crappy foods (around 3pm I’d make my pilgrimage to the vending machine for a Diet Mountain Dew & Nutty Bar), and skipping the gym or a run to finish a deck or clear my inbox was common.

I couldn’t seem to fit it all in. And that was the problem, I was trying to fit it ALL in without removing anything, without stepping back to consider the bigger picture. It felt slow and painful and I didn’t have time for that. 

Strangely enough, when a new project popped up for work, I somehow found the time. I was able to fit in the extra, unexpected stuff. I just couldn’t, or more accurately, I wouldn’t do this for myself and my health. 

After riding the “too busy to be healthy” struggle bus for too long, it finally occurred to me that the same skills I was using to get more work done or to work smarter could be applied to my health. 

In fact, there’s much to be borrowed from the productivity literature and habits of high achievers in regard to our health and finding ways to align great work with well-being. 

Let’s start with just 3 today and build from here:

  1. Meeting Management. You’re likely in back to back meetings and use Outlook to run your day, knowing where to be, with who, and what you’re talking about. Use the same tool to schedule yourself and your health. There may be few but find the spaces between and schedule an appointment with yourself. This can be time to prepare a healthy meal, take a walk, do a few minutes of breathing exercises to release stress, whatever you need. Show up for these meetings like any other.
  2. Project Management. With big projects, we often start with the end in mind: what are we trying to achieve by when? Once that vision is clear, we then back up and consider all the steps that must occur to get from here to there, the "deets" as they say.

We define the tasks to be done, we decide the timeframes and consider the work in the context of other projects going on, and we figure out the skills needed and find people we can pull in for support. The same goes for your health.

Know the goal and vision but don’t get stuck there, daydreaming about how great it will be. Get clear, and then start to back up to get specific. What needs to happen to get there and who can help? INSERT PLUG FOR COACHING HERE. :) But really, get help and support on this.

If you aren't sure of the steps or aren’t sure where to begin, ask someone who knows. Get a copy of their process flow and playbook instead of creating your own. You have enough to worry about, some things can be outsourced. 

  1. Relationship Management. Building a network, internal and external, has been a part of business success 101 for a long time. Moving beyond transactional, surface level relationships toward more meaningful and transformative connections is not only critical to achieving great things in our work but it’s also critical to great health.

Connection to others supports our mental and emotional well-being, reduces our stress, and has even been linked to better physical health. When you're tired, rundown, and overextended it can be really tempting to retreat and ‘lock yourself away’ behind the screen to get more done, and finish “just a few more emails…” but this is when you need connection the most. Even if just a short chat with a friend or old co-worker, a few minutes of a mental break can energize you and create a refreshed feeling before you get back to the grind.

Be proactive with this one, reach out to someone else now. Be the one to initiate the invitation or start the conversation. I promise you will get back the time spent not working by way of better brain power when you return to it.

Side note: Social media scrolling to see what your friends are up to does NOT count.


Something these three tips have in common is also one of the top success factors in better fitness and health: PLANNING AHEAD. 

A few minutes spent planning saves time, creates a more realistic plan, and removes too much reliance on willpower and motivation, all of which makes it more likely you will follow through. And when you’re more likely to follow through, you’re more likely to achieve results, often at a pace faster than you expected. 

The bad news: you’re busy and short on time.

The good news: you already have so many of the skills you need to improve your health. And when you upgrade your health, you will do better work.

Soon many of us will have some time away from work, or things will at least slow down. Take the time to truly be away. Unplug. Use some of the freed mental space to think about what you want to focus on in regard to your health. 

When you’re back at work, hopefully more refreshed, use your management skills in meetings, projects, and relationships to make progress toward better health. 

There will never be a “perfect” time to start. There is only now. The work is in making better choices consistently and leveling up one meeting, one project, one relationship, and one day at a time. 

You got this. 

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