Arianna Huffington: Take better care of yourself than your smartphone

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Credit: HR Tech World
Credit: HR Tech World
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Huffington herself has been a victim of work-induced burnout

People must learn to “take better care of themselves than they do their smartphones” to remain productive at work, according to Arianna Huffington, author and co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post.

Speaking at the HR Tech World conference in Amsterdam, Huffington said she had been a victim of burnout. In 2007 she collapsed and broke her cheekbone as a result of exhaustion.

“If I were to ask you how much battery your smartphone has you would have some idea,” she said. “If my battery drops to around 13% I start looking for a recharging shrine. However, if you’d asked me the day I collapsed how much charge I had I would say I was fine. We’ve forgotten what fine is. We need people to take better care of themselves than they do their smartphones.”

She suggested that in future the idea of not resting enough would hopefully be laughable. “You used to see adverts where doctors would say ‘I smoke a menthol cigarette because it clears my throat’,” she said. “I think in the future we will look back at times when we would say ‘George is the best worker because he works 24/7',’ or ‘Jane is amazing because she answers texts in the middle of the night', and view them as as idiotic.”

She said that one of the key ways for people to recharge is through sleep and rest. “God created heaven and Earth in six days, but she took the seventh day off,” she said. “Not because she needed to, but to send us a message – to be at your most effective, healthiest and happiest you need time to refuel and recharge.”

Allowing yourself time away from technology is another good way to take a break, according to Huffington. She recalled a time when she walked through New York without using her phone. “I said to my friend ‘wow, that building is gorgeous! How long has it been there?’ and she said ‘since about the 1920s'. What else have I missed in my life [because of a smartphone]?”

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