In previous posts, I have discussed the negative effects of distractions on our work, creativity, productivity. Do distractions always have a negative effect on our ability to get things done? Of course not. The right distractions at the right time re-energise us, reinvigorate us, release our creativity, boost our productivity
Why We Neglect Ourselves
It’s really easy to neglect ourselves; focus on work, on our business, on our clients, to our own detriment. Especially now. The economy is struggling, as are our clients, job security seems in short supply. We can’t miss an opportunity, we’ve got to keep working, hard. To keep pushing isn’t sustainable. Always catching up on work is going to catch with us
We Can’t Keep Going Forever
As too many sportspeople are aware, there is a phenomenon called ‘over-training’. A perplexing situation where the harder we train, the worse our performance gets. It’s a consequence of pushing too hard, too often, not enough rest. Ignoring the first signs can lead to a complete breakdown in physical performance. For which, the only cure is to stop, completely, for weeks
Our minds are not much different to our muscles in this respect. We need to push ourselves, try new ways of doing things, to learn, to grow our experience. But to really develop, we need rest. Skipping rest leads to fatigue, which makes it difficult to absorb new information. Tiredness causes mistakes, which means more work. This road heads to stress and burnout. It’s a road we need to get off, before we reach its end
Unlike our muscles, we can’t simply sit down to give our mind a rest. To rest our mind, we need to create a distraction
The Best Distraction
Of course, it’s going to be different for everyone. The best distraction is one that we really enjoy, makes us feel good, makes us happy. Something that engages us, absorbs us, so that work can’t invade our thoughts
I rarely miss an opportunity to share my love of open water swimming (yes, that’s me in the picture). However, we don’t need to don neoprene and plunge into cold water to distract ourselves. Art, playing music, a lively debate, exercise, dance, cookery, reading, writing. Anything, as long as it gives us pleasure, diverts our thoughts from work
Take the Opportunity
As we near the end of the week, it can be tempting to look at the next couple of days as a chance to catch up on work. To get those things done you kept pushing aside as your workload rose, your clients, your boss asked for more. Don’t submit to temptation. Distract yourself, become completely absorbed in something other than work. Come back next week re-energised, reinvigorated, more productive, more creative
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