Steve Jobs was a legendary workaholic but recently a confidante of his revealed that the Apple founder did give himself breaks in order to be his most productive self.
This goes against the image of many brilliant billionaire founders and CEOs, but knowing his limits and giving himself “playtime” could have been the secret to his success and could work for you too.
“There has been a big misconception about him that he was a workaholic and that he was really tough to work with,” Naz Beheshti, who was an executive assistant to the late Apple founder for many years, explained to CNBC Make It. “In the midst of being a tough boss, he made it a point to prioritize his wellbeing, which gave him the energy and the clarity and the vision to sustain his success and build Apple.”
Steve Jobs had “playtime”
Beheshti is a public speaker, life coach, and the author of a new book, “Pause. Breathe. Choose: Become the CEO of Your Well-Being” in which she talks about what she learned from her “first boss and mentor,” Steve Jobs when it came to preserving one’s well-being.
In Beheshti’s estimation, aligning one’s professional aspirations with one’s personal objectives is the key to successfully securing both of them.
“I quickly discovered what playtime looked like for Steve Jobs, and how it was one of the keys to his success as a great innovator,” Beheshti writes in the new book. “Whenever someone was looking for Steve, or whenever he could not be reached on the phone, there was only one place he would almost unerringly be found: In the office of Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief of design officer. He meditated daily, maintained strong relationships, and engaged in regular physical activity.”
“We would lose our minds trying to get in touch with him, trying to get him to his meetings. At some point, we would have to call Jony’s office and enlist his help in dragging Steve away from his playtime … His time with Jony gave him the space and occasion to laugh, imagine, create, and feel a renewed sense of freedom.”
The importance of breaks
The research literature actually seconds Jobs’ methods.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Vocational Therapy, researchers determined that when we devote time to an activity that brings us joy but that is also wholly different from what we do at our place of employment, our performance confidence surges alongside our focus exponentially.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association posited that workers who struggle to balance their careers and personal life evidence an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Beheshti codified the most meaningful components of balancing wellness and work ethic into 8 simple bullet points.
1. Master mindfulness to access your authentic self and make better choices
2. Strengthen self-awareness and emotional intelligence to cultivate stronger connections
3. Upgrade your mindset and behavior to take charge of your life
4. Manage stress and build resilience to bounce forward and thrive
5. Connect your head and your heart to lead with passion and purpose
6. Be at the top of your game in all areas of your life
7. Gain greater energy, clarity, and creativity to navigate change and growth with confidence
8. Improve leadership effectiveness, employee well-being, employee engagement, and company culture in your organization
″Jobs taught me by example that you need to really work on all, when it comes to your health and wellness, rather than just working on one aspect of your life,” Beheshti concluded.