A few short years ago, whenever anyone asked me how I was doing, my go-to response was…
I cringe now because I was the one causing all the busy-ness.
My guiding mantra was to “maximize” and so I would cram in as much as I could into the day.
- If I went for a run I wanted to be listening to something educational at the same time
- I booked in back-to-back meetings so as not to waste even 5 minutes waiting for my next appointment
- I would email or text on my phone whilst walking on the street (yep I was one of those people)
I was constant “doing” something rather than simply resting and “being.”
Whilst it felt like I was being productive because I was constantly doing something and felt like I was “on”, the truth was I wasn’t being very efficient with my time.
In fact I was simply stressed out. I was wasting a lot of energy being nervous and anxious rather than spending my energy focused on the task at hand.
It would have been far better to focus on one thing at a time and give myself some breathing room to….
- Enjoy my run and listen to my body and feel the satisfaction of a good workout
- Give myself a little break between meetings in order to consolidate my notes the key takeaway’s and next steps
- Enjoy my walk on the street being present to what was going on and then setting aside 5 minutes when I’m sat down to blast through whatever needed to be checked on
If you fall into the busy trap I hear you. I want to share with you the counter intuitive method to getting more done in less time.
So what’s the secret to getting more done in less time?
Take more breaks!
Now I know you’re probably thinking…
“I can’t afford to take breaks – I have too much to do”
If that’s you then I want to give you 3 reasons to explain why taking more breaks can make you more productive.
- You retain more information
How many times have you been in back-to-back meetings without a moment’s spare in between only to ask yourself what the key takeaways were and what action steps you need to take?
When you’re worried on the next appointment, your energy and focus is detracted from being 100% present in your current meeting and you don’t retain as much information.
- You are able to re-evaluate your goals so that you focus on the right tasks
Sometimes we can get so singularly focused on working through our to-do list that we end up working on things that aren’t important truly going to support us on our end goal.
This happened to me recently. I have been working on some program ideas to support you whilst I’m away on maternity leave. I had a particular idea in mind and on my to-do list had tasks to see that program through.
However it was during a break (a longer one where I actually got off my butt and took a walk) that I got the inspiration for a different idea that’s way more relevant to where most of you are in your careers. As an aside: if you’re interested in what this program is then you can check it out over HERE.
By taking a break I was able to re-assess where I was spending my time and course correct to a project that feels way more in alignment to what I’m passionate about and how I can best serve my audience (that’s you!)
That seemingly indulgent and “waste of time” 30 minute walk actually saved me hours in work that I would have put into a program that wasn’t really suited to you guys.
- You can stop the boredom factor
When you’re focused on a task at hand and slaving away at it without taking a break you can sometimes get bored. You end up procrastinating and taking way too long to get the task done.
By taking a break you can re-boost your energy and get back into the right zone to just get it done.
So…those are 3 reasons why taking a break can help you.
Do what you like during your break.
Have a cup of coffee, dance, sing, call a friend, go for a walk.
Choose something that invigorates you and brings your energy back! Yep scrolling through your Facebook feed may not be the best for that…
If you’re new to breaks then I invite you to try the following over the next week.
As a tip you can try the Pomodoro technique.
The idea is that you:
Work solidly for 25 minutes then
Take a 5-minute break.
Rinse and repeat.
The idea is that because you’re only working for 25 minutes it tricks your brain into simply focusing on the task at hand. That allows you to concentrate really well.
You may not think that you can get much done in 25 minutes but I invite you to give it a try.
Why is it called pomodoro technique?
Well, it’s based on the tomato timers you can sometimes see at the shops. If you want to read more about it you can check it out here.
Here’s to you working smarter not harder.
Let me know how it goes for you. Leave a comment below.
Wishing you all the best with this technique over the next week!
P.S. If you’re thinking about what to do next in your career and unsure of how to figure things out, I invite you to take a look at a new program I’m launching on the 4th April. It’s called Brilliant You Inc. and is a self guided 6-week program that’s designed to help you ask the right questions to help you decide on what career path is right for you. It’ll save you time and money on figuring things out on your own and is a really fun way to explore your personal career or business mission. If you’re interested, then come on over to check it out HERE. For a short time only, I’m offering a 33% off the program investment as a thank you for being a part of the community.