Melbourne Business School News Care more about yourself than your phone: Arianna Huffington

Care more about yourself than your phone: Arianna Huffington

We pay more attention to our smartphones than our mental health, says Arianna Huffington, the former Huffington Post editor-in-chief and current CEO of well-being specialists Thrive Global.

Speaking at our School’s Dean’s Leaders Forum at Revlon headquarters in New York recently, Huffington said businesses urgently need to foster a culture that encourages staff to recharge, look after their health and take a regular “digital detox” to remain productive and centred.

“For decades, we believed that we have to burnout to succeed,” said Huffington, who, having been a victim of “altruistic burnout” herself, uses her personal experience to educate organisations and their workforce about the importance of self-care.

Businesses need to make recognising the signs of burnout and intervening before people reach their threshold part of their culture, she said. By doing so, “companies will see less sick days, better retention and staff who make better decisions”.

In the Q&A session, the audience of MBS alumni and business leaders were curious to know how a high flyer like Huffington manages to switch off.

“We’re all addicted to our smartphones at some level, including me,” Huffington said. Ironically, this realisation led her to collaborate with Samsung on a Thrive app that monitors and regulates the time spent on a device.

Huffington says turning off your smartphone, or taking time away from it, doesn’t make you anti-technology. It’s more about “changing that expectation to be always on”, which her app achieves by locking users out of their phone for a time.

“I’m sure you’ve all seen people recording concerts rather than watching them,” Huffington said, “but we need to live our lives and focus less on merely capturing them.”

When it comes to self-care, we are often our own own worst enemies, according to Huffington, because we put immense pressure on ourselves.

“We need to change our mindset and set aside time to recharge,” she said, adding that well-being starts with getting the basics right.

“We all need 7–9 hours of sleep each night. This is non-negotiable if we are to perform at our best.”

While a good night’s sleep isn’t always possible, she said being aware of our body’s needs is an important first step.

Arianna Huffington’s top productivity tips

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Charge your phone outside of your bedroom, don’t reconnect with it upon waking and allow yourself 30 minutes prior to switching on.
  • Allocate time to yourself and your family, away from your smartphone.
  • Companies need to embrace a well-being culture that recognises employees are their greatest investment.

Learn more about the Thrive Global app.