No, not the kind you drink. Though go ahead and savor a steaming cup of your favorite brew if that helps you beat back stress. But according to Google’s “head of global resilience” Lauren Whitt (yes, apparently the search giant has such a role) another kind of TEA is one of the most important tools you can use to stay resilient and avoid burnout.
This kind of TEA is an acronym, not a beverage. And as Whitt explained in a recent Google blog post it serves as a handy mnemonic for a daily exercise Googlers use to be aware of their thoughts, energy and attention.
Take time for TEA.
In the timely post Whitt lays out a whole list of tips to avoid burnout. Many of them, such as sticking to a sensible morning routine, getting enough sleep, and taking enough breaks, you’ve probably heard before. But TEA was new to me, at least.
Whitt links to a document that offers a deeper dive into the exercise. It explains that Google views “resilience is a skill that can be built, practiced, and cultivated.” The TEA exercise is one way to consciously increase your resilience. A check-in that works for both individuals and teams, the TEA exercise can be done daily, or as regularly as you feel it’s needed.
It basically consists of completing and reflecting on a series of simple sentences covering three topics:
Thoughts. Complete these sentences to help you learn “to differentiate between helpful and unproductive thinking patterns:” “Today my mind is …” “To refocus I need to …”
Energy. The goal of the ‘E’ section of TEA is “observing how we are feeling in the moment, and intentionally investing in activities or people that fuel positive enthusiasm and motivation.” Complete these sentences: “Today my energy is…” “To change or maintain, I need to…”
Attention. This one helps you become more intentional about where you place your attention by asking you to complete this sentence: “To be my best today, I will focus on doing or being…”
There is nothing too radical here. We all know our self-talk, our attention, and our habits around maintaining our energy are key for enduring all the craziness entrepreneurship (and life generally) throws at us. What Google’s simple exercise offers is a useful way to nudge yourself to remember and act on these basic principles in the midst of the whirlwind of modern life.
So next time you feel burnout looming take a minute to tick through the TEA exercise. Hopefully it will help you spot actionable ways to get yourself back on a path away from exhaustion and towards greater resilience.