Consider this situation: You are inundated with so much to do. Swirling in demands. Suffocating under deadlines. Your to-do list is swelling. You are wondering how it will all get done.
What do you do? What’s the first thing that you cut out of your day?
Faced with this situation, many people sabotage their productivity by eliminating the thing that enhances peak performance.
Sleep, fitness, and eating a proper meal are often the first things to go, followed by personal time with friends or things you do just because you love to do them.
None of these things ever feels urgent, so it’s easy to give them less importance when bigger urgencies arise.
This is a mistake.
Don’t Cut Your Power Source
In the heat of the moment, when you are drowning in demands on your time and attention, stepping away for some personal time may feel counterproductive.
When you’re going full steam ahead, sometimes the hardest thing to do is stop. It seems impossible to think of walking away or easing off the pressure. We believe we need to apply more pressure and be more intense in our focus.
But the very activities that you cut out when you feel “too busy” tend to be the fuel that keeps you going. These activities ignite your spirit and recharge your drive.
Cutting them out of your day is like pulling the plug on your phone charger just when you need to recharge the battery.
Pausing Boosts Productivity
Getting away from the swirl of demands creates a pause that allows you to recharge your brain.
When you step back, you can get a fresh perspective on the problems you are trying to solve.
Making time to do the things you love fuels your spirit; it gives you fresh energy when you return to your work.
Work and Play Are Not Opposites
Perhaps you believe it’s lazy to take a break. You might feel that you are being overly indulgent by taking a walk, going to the gym, taking that dance class or spending a few hours with a friend.
We are conditioned to think of “play” as the reward we get for working hard.
Giving ourselves the space to play before we have “finished our homework” feels uncomfortable because is antithetical to this conditioning.
Doing things that ignite your spirit are not indulgences. They are necessary to maintaining and sustaining peak performance.
Play is not the opposite of work; it is an essential component of your best work.
Giving yourself the time to pause and play is not a reward, it is part of the process.
As tempting as it may be to sacrifice your play time when things get hectic, that mistake will sabotage your productivity. Protecting these activities sustains the fuel that drives you, which will keep you in your most productive state.
What are the activities that fuel you? How often do you eliminate them because you feel you are too busy to create time for them?
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