Most days I’m so concerned with my lists and getting things done that when I do have some down time, I freeze. I think, “Shouldn’t I be doing something? There’s got to be something I can do right now.” I forget that it’s OK to just do nothing and not have something planned out for every second of every day.

On this blog I talk a lot about taking regular breaks. However, when you’re feeling busy and rushed off your feet — I get that it can be tough to take a moment to slow down. Most of us eat lunch at our desk or read emails while we make coffee and we feel as though we have to be accountable for every minute. But this frenzied work ethic can actually be harmful to your productivity. It’s time to join me and give yourself permission to relax during those down moments. It’s amazing how much of a boost in your efficiency you’ll feel if you just take it easy on yourself.

Because I can’t do anything — even taking a break — without a list, here are some ideas for you:

Call a Friend – Take a few minutes to share the woes of your morning commute or something funny that happened at work with a friend. This is a great way to lift your mood and can help ease your mind. They say a problem shared is a problem halved. Be careful which friends you call though, since a phone call to some friends can last a minimum of 30 minutes.

Keep a Gratitude JournalOprah famously writes down five things she is grateful for every day. Taking a moment to write down things your grateful for can help shift the focus away from what’s going wrong, making you feel less stressed.

Go For a Stroll – We always hear about the benefits of a breath of fresh air but what about your other senses? Go for a walk around a local park or even just around the block and take a moment to think on what you can see, hear and smell. Engaging all your senses helps to reset your mind and restart your focus.

Do Absolutely Nothing – When you live in a busy city and you have a full schedule the idea of doing nothing can seem pretty daunting. But taking a moment to clear your mind is one of the best ways to deal with a stressful day. As list-maker John Lennon famously said “time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.”

What will you do with your spare moments?

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