Let Your Mind Relax In Order to Get More Done

Let Your Mind Relax In Order to Get More Done

Copyright © Stephanie Dickison 2010.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking – it sounds like sitting around doing nothing, right?

Well, kind of.

And believe me, I do not enjoy sitting around not being productive. But I do realize the importance of allowing yourself to get away from work in order to be better at your job.

We are all familiar with burnout – where you are barely functioning, just putting one foot in front of the other, just getting by without a speck of creativity because it’s been all used up.

And I am the worst when it comes to taking time off, being good to myself. I will sit and write at the computer, working to deadline, applying for more work until my fella comes and taps me on the shoulder and says, “Time for bed.” I would rather work than go to the movies.

But I know that to keep my motivation, energy and creativity up, I have to make time to relax and unwind. Get away from it all, as the saying goes. Otherwise, I’ll be one hot mess.

Here are some suggestions I’ve found helpful:

1. Take a walk

I find it extremely difficult to extricate myself from my desk. After all, if I’m not working, I’m not getting paid. But I have realized the hard way (it seems the only way I’ll learn) that I cannot keep up the pace without sacrificing my mind, my health and my joy. So now I force myself to take a walk every day. Even just a short one. Because it gets me away from my desk, my work, the wheel that is constantly churning in my head and I get to stretch my legs that remain coiled and crossed underneath my rolltop desk all day.

Each and every time I get back to my desk after a walk, I am clear(er) headed and ready to tackle whatever may come my way.

2. Read a book or magazine

It doesn’t have to be James Joyce or law texts. In fact, it should be anything that isn’t work for you.
Sometimes I’ll dig into a men’s fashion magazine to leave my world of deadlines behind or sometimes it’s a novel that I started before bed and can’t wait to delve into again. Many people find books on CD relaxing while they cook or sew, which would work too.

Just allow yourself to be taken away somewhere else so that your mind can let all that work-related stuff go, if only for just a little while.

3. Make a list

I know that this might sound like work, but it’s not a grocery or to-do list. Sometimes I write out a dream list of things I want to do and accomplish. Making a list like this relaxes me because it helps to empty my mind of all the noise and chatter that’s going in there.

It often doesn’t take too long (these thoughts have been there for what seems like forever, after all) and then I’ve got lots of time to do relax and do something else.

4. Dance!

Although some would say I am too old to be bouncin’ around at home like a teenager, getting up and dancing, sometimes even singing along into a hairbrush (or in my case, a stapler), it makes me feel so good. It revs me up and puts me in a fantastic mood. It loosens my joints and my mind. After just 15 minutes of rockin’ out in my office chair, I feel like I can work for another 8 hours no problem.

I keep a music chart tab at the ready on my desktop so that when I need to break away, I just hit play and let the sounds take me away!

5. Talk with friends

One of the best ways to get your work mojo back is to get together with friends. They will certainly drive you to distraction with their stories! There have been times when I have been sitting at my desk, mired in tough writing assignments and deadlines, only to be lifted by a friend’s call or visit.

I try to remind friends how much they mean to me on a constant basis, and they reciprocate by making sure that I step away from my keyboard and hang out for a while. As good friends should.

After all, there is much more to life than work.

Stephanie Dickison is the author of the recent book, The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working From Home, which covers her career as book, music and restaurant critic. She has been a journalist for over a decade and now spends much of her time writing about travel, food, beauty, style and celebrities for various publications and websites.

When she’s not writing, she’s eating, cooking, organizing, filing, making lists in sumptuous notebooks (you must use your beautiful journals) and colour-coding her ever evolving calendar.

She is one of the few writers still using technology AND paper. But at least her paper is organized into pretty file folders…