Last week I found myself saying this. A lot. And taking a minute is not something I usually do.
Between “back to school” with whatever that means these days, gearing up for fall, revitalizing my business plan, launching not one but three new career kickstart programs, trying to squeeze in the last few weeks of summer and re-committing to my fitness routine – I was exhausted. It’s exhausting just typing this.
The notepad I keep next to my bed (life hack, this really works to ensure a peaceful sleep) was overflowing with random ideas. My computer desktop looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. I had more than five different notebooks going at the same time. I was over-committed, over-stimulated and feeling pulled in a million directions. Naturally I was half-assing most things and letting my day run me rather than me running my day.
Sound familiar? I’ll bet. And you’re not alone. The more I share this experience, the more I hear how others are feeling the same. We won’t get into all of the other stressors happening right now which are slowly chipping away at our mental stamina. You know what they are and they are impossible to avoid.
So what to do when you feel like you need a minute? You pause. And you take a minute. How?
First, shut down your technology for as long as you possibly can. A day? An hour? An afternoon? If you can’t totally shut it down (which, by the way you really can but that’s a post for another time), turn off your alerts. I turned off my computer and phone alerts in 2013 and have never looked back. I realize this sometimes frustrates friends, family and colleagues because I am not always available. And I’m ok with this as I know that in the end it’s better for everyone because when I do show up, I really show up. Without distractions and fully engaged.
Now that you don’t have the pinging, dinging and buzzing happening every two minutes you can do something you love, if only for a few minutes. I’m not talking about trying goat yoga or taking up pottery but if that’s your jam that works too. The key here is to keep it simple and quick with a specific start and end time. Bake, cook, exercise, listen to an old song, meditate, repair something, look out the window, read or just do nothing. Science proves that the brain can reboot itself after just a few minutes. Think about how much better your computer runs after you reboot. Why wouldn’t you do that for yourself? And often?
Tell, do not ask. This last step was my biggest aha moment. I canceled several appointments last week while I “took a minute”. As a serial over-achiever this was the most difficult thing for me to do because I was so afraid of letting people down. Or appearing spacey and unorganized. Or even worse, rude. And you know what happened? Nothing. Not one person was upset. Not one. A few of my colleagues actually admired that fact that I pressed hold and took a time out. Two people went ahead and did the same for themselves.
Some of you reading this may be thinking that you don’t “deserve” the minute. You’ve been on furlough all summer, you are working reduced hours, you’ve taken the summer off or you have too much on your plate. If you are feeling this way, consider this your permission to pause. You deserve it and in fact, you need it. Because, as they say…winter is coming. September will be here in two weeks, then the fall and then the holidays. We’re preparing and planning and the world will not stop. So, we need to stop. If not now, when?
Do you think you can try this? When you do, let me know how it goes for you. I promise you will come back refreshed and re-energized before eventually, you restart.
Ready to restart? My mission is quite simple. I aim to empower, educate and inspire. I believe in stepping into your strengths, recognizing the true value of your talent and owning your authenticity to communicate with certainty, clarity and confidence. This is how you truly thrive at work. When you’re ready, I’m ready.