Need to be reinvigorated? Try this secret formula
You know the feeling. You have determination, drive, and the skills to achieve your dreams. You’ve worked long, hard hours to reach your goal and it still seems miles out of site. You’re not letting go, but it’s starting to feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.
I learned a not-so-obvious solution for this common struggle, when I began studying productivity experts. I found it hard to believe at first, but they stressed that you’ll accomplish more by doing less at a time. If you plan regular breaks, you’ll work faster than if you maintain long, stressed-out hours. Because life (and your art) is a marathon, it’s better to work ten hour days and keep moving than it is to work a single 12 hour grind that leaves you fried for the next three days. That last two hours can put you in an early grave!
I found it difficult
What I didn’t realize at the time is that you don’t take breaks because you “deserve” them. You take them because you must have them to continue moving.
Ultra long distance runners—those crazy people who run 50 or 100 miles (or more) at a time–break regularly for food, drinks, or to chat. They know that the body is a collection of organs that all need rest. Even the winners of these super long races will break for ten to twenty minutes at a time, even though that’s putting them further behind the clock at that particular moment.
They’ve learned that by slowing down, they actually speed up in the long run!
Almost there…just needed a tweak
So, I began taking breaks while working on a new monologue, or developing course materials for Abundance Bound. They were good for me. I’d walk in the neighborhood, visit with friends, surf online, and let my mind wander. Still, the residue of my business and art continued to seep into these times. After a few breaks, I discovered that I wasn’t really taking a full “break.” I was using the walk for creative time to think about the work I was doing! While that was helpful over the short run, I was missing out on the key component of the break that makes it successful: I wasn’t completely away.
Then I discovered how I could escape AND rejuvenate. (more…)