Productivity often feels better when we’re going at warp speed, but manic levels of workaholic loads come with a price. Here’s what I’ve learned in a crash course of Go! Go! Go!: What comes up, must come down. At the end of our long day, what we could all use more of is a little something called balance.
Relaxing Is Not A Waste Of Time
I feel like I’m slacking off when I’m not doing something every hour, minute, and second of the day. Relaxing for those of us who love to stay busy feels like empty time wasted sitting around when we could be, well, working, of course!
I’ve been accused of being a workhorse. We can have good work ethics and still have personal lives. But for those of us who enjoy working long hours, having someone tell us we need to slow down doesn’t register. It’s not that we don’t understand the words, as we hear the words just fine. It’s the application of advice that’s the true challenge.
Learn To Be Present
Time management is key, especially if you’ve got a toddler like I do. Having a three-year-old has taught me one big lesson, managing and valuing my free time. Because when it’s family time, it’s family time. Still, I’ve been guilty of checking my email or Googling something random just for the sake of it. Let’s face it, some of us are Google-holics. In this information age, anything that pops into our A.D.D. mind can be quickly Googled via our smartphone.
My now three-year-old daughter has told me, “Mommy, put your phone away.” Yikes! While I believe there is a time and place for multi-tasking, alternatively I feel it’s more conducive to be present with your mind completely dedicated to whatever task you’re doing. If you’re reading a book, don’t stop to check your phone. Block out the time and stay committed to accomplishing that one thing you set out to do for those minutes or hours you’ve dedicated. If you’re watching TV, turn off your laptop and get off of your computer. Being mindful and practicing conscious productivity is especially important for those of us who work from home.
The 25-Minute Method
It’s okay to want to be productive. But running around like you’ve drunk ten cups of coffee doesn’t always mean you’re getting a whole lot done. Project management is a skill that can be utilized to help all areas of our life. If you have multiple things to accomplish, try the Pomodoro Method, invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It’s essentially blocking out 25 minutes to accomplish a goal. You can run for 25 minutes, check your email, write, work on a project, or read. Blocking out 25 minutes for a given task helps you to stay focused while also giving you a short, manageable deadline.
The Bottom Line:
Some of us like to be busy, but working harder isn’t always a good thing. Overdoing and overworking yourself can lead to burnouts and the need to escape via an addiction as well as unhealthy habits, sleep disruptions, and overall poor self-care. Too much of anything can be unhealthy. Managing our time by focusing on one task at a time helps us to give 100 percent of our focus. Divided focus can lead to a lot of unfinished projects or sloppy results. We need to work smarter.
Don’t forget when scheduling time to make time for you. Make time to do something you love or simply do nothing for a few minutes. Yes, I know, it’s hard for some of us workaholics. But, practicing being okay with silence, meditation, and nothingness is an art. Be okay with the calm and quiet non-busy chunks of time, whether it’s 25 minutes or one day. After all, you only have one life. This isn’t a video game where you can bank more lives. Manage your time and make sure to schedule some you time. Balance, after all, is the key to health and happiness.