Often, the very act of walking into a different room will facilitate a flood of ideas related to the work you were just doing. Even better is if you take a short mental break and then continue your work in a different environment, whether that means going to a different room, changing your chair, or going somewhere entirely different for a few hours”.
I know during lockdown, you may feel limited in where you can work but even sitting in a different ‘non work’ designated room can be enough.
When you take your break, you should be strategic about what you do during this time. Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, provides some useful tips on the best use of your time during these breaks. He says:
- “Deep breaks should not turn your attention to a target that might generate a professional or social obligation that you cannot completely fulfill during the break (e.g., glancing at an email inbox or social media feed).
- Deep breaks should not turn your attention to a target that your mind associates with time-consuming distraction rituals (e.g., many people have a set “cycle” of distracting web sites they visit when they surf that has become so ingrained that looking at one site sends their mind the message it’s time to look at them all).
- Deep breaks should not turn your attention to a related, but not quite the same, professional task (e.g., if you’re trying to write a report, and you turn your attention to quickly editing an unrelated report).
- Deep breaks should not turn your attention to a topic that is complicated, stressful and/or something that will sometime soon need a lot of your attention.
- Deep breaks should not usually last more than 10 – 15 minutes, with some exceptions, such as for meals.”
Cal’s key message is “that when it comes to deep work, you shouldn’t feel like you’re required to maintain peak concentration for hours on end. (If you try to, you’ll fail.) On the other hand, be mindful about how you take your cognitive breathers as they play a key role in whether the deep work session as a whole will succeed.”
13. Create a To Feel list
“The day you’re having now is determined by a decision you made this morning’ – Dandapani
You know the concept of a to-do list – but have you ever thought about a ‘to-be’ list? Who do I want to be during this period? Ultimately the ‘to –be’ list extends into a ‘to-feel’ list. How do you want to feel at the end of each day?
Stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted? Or content, energised and grateful? If you have chosen the latter, have a look at your current calendar and see if there are activities that correlate to creating these feelings. If you striving to feel less stressed, then where is the exercise or meditation slot? Where are you getting some downtime and recovery?
How you schedule your days is how you spend your life. Be deliberate what you place into the slots available because with kids, family and being in one space – they are far and few between. Every day is made up of micro decisions – Am I going to work on that proposal or watch cat videos? Am I going to take 15 minutes with my kids or reply to unnecessary emails? Am I going to reach for the energy drink or water?
We are not in a new normal. We are only in the new. This demands a new set of behaviours to accompany it in order to step up to the challenge. Equally, it is about letting go of old behaviours and patterns that don’t serve you.
The questions I frequently ask myself to keep on track are:
- How do I want to emerge from lockdown?
- How do I want to remember this time?
- How do I want my kids and family to remember this time?
- How do I want my kids and family to remember me during this time?
14. Be responsible for the energy you generate
“You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others” – Oprah Winfrey
Working around the clock is a conscious decision and I think it’s really clear by now it is not a sustainable way to live. If you need further convincing, think about how it is affecting people around you in your physical space but also the people you interact with daily.
You are like a diffuser and if you are constantly stressed, in overwhelm and near the edges of burnout, the energy you are sending out is tense, stressed, irritable and anxious. Left unchanged can become toxic to you and those around you so think really carefully about how you are choosing to spend your time.
If you take one thing from this article to make an immediate shift, it is approaching yourself with an unconditional friendliness and daily acts of kindness. Give yourself permission to start making decisions in your own best interest because you deserve it.
Ready to own your days and not feel like they are owning you? I’ve created an ultimate guide to Show Up To Yourself: In Life & Business. If you follow this daily, you can build new habits — and actually sustain them; schedule yourself into your calendar, guilt-free; and manage your inner critic, free of anxiety and fear.
Written by: Lori Milner Originally appeared on Beyondthedress.co.za Republished with permission.