Reflection: I mentioned this study a few years ago; and I’m going to share it again, because I believe it’s so significant.
The Energy Project stated in Harvard Business Review that employees who break every 90 minutes to pulse between work and renewal report: 28% better focus, 30% greater health and well being, and a 40% increase in thinking creatively.
I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that any practice that improves focus, creativity, health and wellbeing is good for us all. Yet there continue to be challenges in giving our selves permission to step away from the load. Those ubiquitous forces of guilt and fear prompt us to keep our noses to the grindstone – where we repeatedly crash and burn or live in a continuous state of blur and endure.
Even for those who are convinced of the value of pausing, it’s easy to get swept up in the work of the day and to forget that we had intended to take time for renewal.
Action: So, in support of those good intentions, here are three ways to move those intentions to action more often. Pay closer attention to time, transitions, and twinges.
Time flies. It really does – especially when you are swamped or absorbed by the tasks at hand. We all have smartphones, computers and clocks at our disposal. Don’t let time drive you; make it serve you instead. Set a timer or alarm for every 90 minutes throughout the busiest part of your day to remind you to step away from the work and do something kind for yourself.
Transitions are a part of everyday life experience. We move from one project to another, one meeting to another, and one place to another. Let each transition serve as an opportunity to break for a few seconds or a few minutes. Check in to see how you are feeling and what you might need to stay well and happy. A breath of fresh air? A stretch? A drink of water? A laugh or a moment away from the fray? Gift yourself with what you need, and carry on.
Twinges are a warning sign that can also serve us well. Our subconscious mind and our body often signal what we need long before it surfaces in our awareness. A stiff neck or a pain in the lower back? A gut feel? A nagging doubt in the back of your mind? All of these signals are at our disposal when we learn to tune in and pay attention. What might these twinges be saying about what you need to change or do to take better care of you?
Quotes Of The Week: Most of us have become deaf to our own bodies, which is why they are out of tune. – Terri Guillemets
Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out. – Michael Burke
Think of taking time for yourself as an important part of getting the job done. – Paul White
The brain forgets much, but the lower back remembers everything. – Robert Brault
Resources Of The Week: Check out Elizabeth Scott’s article describing ‘Five Ways to Calm Down Quickly When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed.’
Paul White’s article, Are You Too Busy To Learn How To Overcome Busyness, offers several insights and strategies you might find helpful.
Here’s another interesting article by Elizabeth Scott that describes ten ways our thought patterns make life more stressful than it needs to be: Cognitive Distortions & Stress. You might identify with a few of these patterns. I know I did!