Runnin’ on Empty: The Importance of Re-charging
I’ve been feeling stressed lately and have had a hard time figuring out what was up. After a certain amount of whining, pondering, and ingesting mass quantities of chocolate, I realized I’ve been pushing too hard.
Does any of this sound familiar?
- I love my work, so it doesn’t feel like work, so I don’t keep regular office hours, so I often work more than an eight-hour day.
- I’m confident I’m doing the right things in the right order. Unfortunately, there are just so many right things to do, I tend to focus too much on what remains undone, thereby ignoring everything I’ve already accomplished.
- Instead of staying focused in the moment, I allow myself to dwell on the list of tasks yet undone. This contributes to my feeling ineffectual, burdened, and generally sucked dry of energy.
- I try to hurry through tasks, which increases my stress level, puts me at risk of making careless mistakes, and decreases my overall effectiveness.
What have I been thinking?!?
Now that I’ve realized the insanity of this approach, I’m able to step back and re-group.
- I re-arranged my To Do list so that I wasn’t trying to pack an unreasonable amount of activity into a single day.
- I now keep a closer eye on the time, so that I walk away from my laptop—even from leisure activities—no later than 8 p.m. This gives my system a chance to settle down after the stimulation of computer work.
- I also monitor myself for half-hearted activity. You know the kind, where you’re sorta kinda working on a task, but with so little concentrated effort that a random piece of lint can pull your attention away. This is when I apply the principles from my dog-training classes: Speak to the misbehaving party in a firm, calm voice, using simple commands, as in, “Okay, Kath, stop. Focus.”
- I have additional heart-to-heart talks with myself where I make the following recommendation: “Kath, take it easy, breathe, and just work on this one task in front of you.” (I find it works best if I say all this out loud; my husband and my dogs are learning to ignore me when I go into this mode.)
- I give myself permission to work some place other than my office or my usual coffee-shop haunts. The change of venue and energy re-charges my batteries and enables me to actually enjoy focusing on the important stuff I may have been ignoring.
When you’re running on empty, what do you do to revitalize yourself? I’d love to hear about additional resources!
(By the way, if you live in the Twin Cities and love the idea of a working, in-town get-away, check out the business mini-retreat I’m hosting at the Landscape Arboretum in Chaska on February 23, 2012. A real fireplace, free WiFi, free admission to the Arb…and 900 acres to roam in if that’s the activity that will re-charge you best. I’d love to have you join us!)
(Last but not least, thanks to basykes for the horribly apt photo of overwhelm. I found it in the Creative Commons section of flickr.)This entry was posted in implementing, personal power, productivity and tagged productivity. Bookmark the permalink.