Magazine article American Banker

To Get Ahead, Slow Down and Recharge

Magazine article American Banker

To Get Ahead, Slow Down and Recharge

Article excerpt

What do they say about all work and no play? Well, it can do more than make you dull; believe it or not, it can also harm your career.

Thanks to PCs, faxes, and portable phones, we are never really absent from the workplace. That means some anxiety is always there, says Dean McKnight, senior vice president in State College, Pa., of $1 billion-asset Mid-State Bank and Trust Co., a unit of Keystone Financial Inc.

In order to be really effective in the workplace, we have to periodically cleanse our minds and replenish ourselves, Mr. McKnight says.

His outlet? Flying kites.

He carries 80 of them -- and 300 wind socks -- in the trunk of his car. After a stressful day, he stops off at a field and flies a kite for about 20 minutes before going home.

"It really changes my mood," he says. "You have to find ways to divorce yourself from the problems in order to better see the solutions."

Nature Lover

Ducks, not kites, are the outside passion of Robert Eberhardt, president of $700 million-asset Bank of Stockton, Calif. For 30 years he has been involved with Ducks Unlimited, a group that raises money to preserve wetlands for ducks and other critters.

Mr. Eberhardt also loves to fish and hunt, and he finds these activities help him to "recharge."

As for people who start work at the crack of dawn and keep going into the wee hours, they're just "sick," he says.

What do Mr. McKnight and Mr. Eberhardt know that highstress workaholics don't?

Healthy executives "use avocational pursuits to prepare themselves for vocational stress." says Steven Berglas, a psychologist who runs the Executive Stress Clinic in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Fueling Up

Without downtime, the mind has no capacity to see novel approaches to problems, says Mr., Berglas, co-author of "Your Own Worst Enemy -- Understanding the Paradox of Self-defeating Behavior. …

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