You grew up believing that your self-worth is dependent upon your productivity. Messages you got from your parents, teachers, media, and society taught you to do more, get more done, and then you will be better. As much as you understand now that the need to produce is a big stressor for you, you have internalized this belief and it has taken over you. Trying to always ?get more done,? you get into a vicious cycle of ?I have to rest because I’m so tired,? to ?I can’t rest because I have so much to do.? You tell yourself, ?If I just focus and move to get things done??and then ultimately you resign to ?I’m just so tired??.
Many of the people I work with feel guilty when they stop ?doing? to take care of themselves. Productivity is a higher value on their priority list than self-care. Even taking a 30-minute break in the middle of work day makes them feel guilty. They feel overwhelmed, stressed, and drained. Does this sound familiar?
You might be surprised, but the fastest way to improve your productivity is to take a real break and engage in a restful activity or an activity that leaves you feeling clearheaded, centered, and grounded.
Taking a real break means getting away from your computer, silencing or turning off your phone, and engaging in something that is nurturing for you.
Searching the net or connecting to Facebook is not a real break. Checking the messages on your phone or texting is not a real break. A lunch break doesn’t count either if you leave your phone next to your plate. These activities often lead to more stress! We’re talking ?real? break here. We mean using quality sources to reenergize you.
For one person taking a walk in nature is nurturing (even if nature means the 4 trees next to your office building). For others it means taking a nap, stretching, listening to a guided meditation, or reading. It might even be that you would spend your break just being instead of doing. It can be as simple as closing your eyes in a quiet room and breathing deeply for 10 minutes. You will go back to your work or whatever it is that you were doing feeling refreshed and recharged.
If you could spend 10 minutes unwinding in the middle of the day, what would you do? Brainstorm some ideas and try a new one each day…or do the same thing! Just do it.
The Bottom Line: 10 minutes of engaging in a nurturing activity improves your productivity.
Ask: How can I nurture my body and soul in 10 minutes?
Affirm: I give myself permission to rejuvenate and I feel better and more productive.