The deadlines pile up. The kids have homework and activities. The onslaught of continual bad news in the media is enough to drive even the sanest person to drink.
The cycle of busy and overwhelm with no way out seems endless.
Does this sound familiar?
Even for those of us single folks without kids we get in the rhythm of work with no stopping point. In this day and age, it seems impossible to shut it off. Or does it?
I am an overachiever. This is no secret. Whatever I accomplish it never feels like enough. I always want to do more, create more, earn more produce more etc.…
As a creative entrepreneur, the pandemic was a breeding ground for basically nonstop work. Work filled the time with seeming productivity. To a degree this is true. I wrote a new book. We are rebranding and creating some very cool new coaching and workshop programs. I vowed at the beginning of the shutdown that I wanted to use the time effectively.
I said to myself: “Self, what do you want to look back on this time and say you did?” “Do you want to aimlessly scroll social media, watch too much TV or get creative and focused?” I chose the latter.
In many ways, this was a clear and healthy decision. However, I found myself working around the clock. Since I can’t drive, I couldn’t go anywhere and that kept me working. Even when I was tired, I kept working. As I became fearful things would never materialize, I pushed more. The problem was, I never allowed myself the grace of a break.
Finally. I snapped and decided to return to NYC where I am fortunate to still have an apartment. Like so many people I had not anticipated being gone a year. The freedom of being able to move about without a car gave me a renewed energy and sense of excitement. The daily human interaction boosted my enthusiasm. Spring in New York is always amazing but this year even more so.
As my mindset was energized so was my work. I started to allow myself breaks. At the end of a long day of zoom calls or writing and creating content, I simply shut down my laptop. I went for a walk or to the park. I sat outside and read a book or watched the people in the street go by.
Even within the parameters of the current pandemic, I let myself have some downtime.
I stopped working through the entire weekend. It felt strange and a little uncomfortable. I sat in the park and listened to music. I let myself relax and reset. So can you. I get this is a benefit of being in New York City, but you get the point.
Guess what???? As a result of the much-needed downtime, I feel physically better. I have become MORE productive in LESS time. I even catch myself feeling happy just because. The heartache of the past year is lifting. I am focused, excited, and ready to start the day getting down to business.
The downtime also served as inspiration and needed clarity. I had the space to breathe and mull over upcoming articles, coaching events etc. Getting some air and exercise, engaging with people in the world, reading a book all spark ideas and insight that translate through the work.
I am also adopting the belief that I can trust the process. My impatience and impulsive nature have been the cause for expensive and painful lessons of late. In reality, it is better to breathe, sleep on it and gain a little perspective before making any monetary or impactful decisions whether they be business or personal.
The difference now is that I no longer berate myself for a mistake or impulsive judgment. Instead, I choose to recognize the behavior and be more aware the next time a similar situation arises.
Taking a break and not always ’freaking out’ about the outcomes or feeling overwhelmed allows for this presence of mind to occur. Even when good things are happening it can feel like we are short-circuiting. I know when this starts it’s time to shut down the computer and put on my sneakers. It’s time for some chill.
Like any new routine, this takes a little awareness and effort no matter how busy or overwhelmed you may feel. It doesn’t have to be an all-day break. Take fifteen minutes and get some air. Get a cup of coffee or tea and then come back to the task at hand. Shut off your phone for 30 minutes and just sit under a tree or on a park bench. (Yes, you WILL survive without FB or email for half an hour I PROMISE.)
If you’re anything like me the results will speak for themselves. And please remember to ENJOY.
You are WINNING!