MANILA — Hustlers of today should realize that focusing on mental health and taking breaks when exhausted will result in increased productivity, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington said on Friday, adding that "quiet quitting" is the not the real solution to the problem.
The pandemic has changed the way people work and live but it also highlighted "burnout" which in 2019 was recognized as an "occupational phenomenon" by the World Health Organization, the entrepreneur and author said during the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines' (IMMAP) Digicon Valley 2022.
"When they take care of themselves, they're actually going to be more creative and more productive... But it's still very hard for us to accept it because we've all been brought up with this collective delusion that in order to succeed we have to burn out, you know, power through exhaustion," Huffington said.
"Downtime is a feature, not a bug for the human operating system... So it's really great and to have the opportunity now and after the 2 1/2 years of the pandemic to redefine how we work and live and then be able to reduce the terrible costs of burnout," she added.
Huffington left the media company to build Thrive Global in 2016, which aims to make meaningful change by helping individuals combat the "burnout epidemic" through behavior change solutions.
"I hit my head on my desk, broke my cheekbone and that's the beginning of this journey for me that helped me realize that burnout was not just my own problem but truly a global epidemic," she said.
"I didn't want just to raise awareness which I could have continued doing through a media company. I wanted to build a behavior change technology company to help people go from awareness to action to help people adopt the healthier behaviors," she added.
Exhaustion, she said, leads to wrong decisions and missed opportunities.
"Look at how many people make bad decisions and they miss the signs. Often when you're exhausted you hire the wrong people and you miss an opportunity," she said.
Huffington said the quiet quitting trend is not the answer to being burnout as it could mean giving up on dream jobs or opportunities.
"I find that quiet quitting is really giving up on the joy of having a job you love and it's a shame and it's not necessary. It's not a choice between burnout or quiet quitting; it's a choice between burnout and having a job with great boundaries where you do great work but where you are not defined by your job," Huffington said.
The established entrepreneur, also does not believe in work-life balance. She said she prefers the "work-life" integration where she can be present in any aspect of her life when needed.
"I don't believe in work-life balance, I believe in work-life integration because if you think of it, there will be days when you need to work extra hard because you have a deadline to meet, you have a client presentation and there will be days when you may have a sick child or when you may have something at home that requires your full attention," she said.
Huffington also said she follows this daily routine that makes her productive while keeping her mental health in check:
• Planning ahead - Huffington said she plans her day the night before so she can wake up prepared
• Declare an end to a work day
"If I end my day with a real transition to sleep, I can fully recharge then I can deal with whatever happens during the day," she said.
• Set intentions first thing in the morning
• Set some time for yourself to do what you love such as working out
• Establish "micro steps" or small daily tasks that will soon develop into habits
"We break healthy new habits into what we call micro steps tiny little daily incremental steps that we call too small to fail that gradually become healthier habits," she said.
• Establish a work culture of "compassion and directness" where employees can talk freely and where managers listen to "frustrations" of workers and understand the importance of mental health and its relation to productivity
Huffington has so far written 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution, which are in line with her passion of ending the notion that burnout will lead to success.