Organizational Tip #2: 5 Ways to Disconnect and Refresh

September 2, 2007 at 8:05 pm (bulldogs, healthy eating, Netflix, Organizational Tips, relaxation, youtube)

Instant gratification has become a part of our world. The faster the better. I used to sit tapping my fingers aggressively, huffing and puffing waiting for my dial-up connection to load a page. Now, along with lightening speed internet speeds, comes an expectation for our brain waves to keep up the pace. And this means returning 100+ emails a day, keeping up with technology, participating in 20 internet communities. And I’m not even including the outside-of-the-internet life we all (hopefully) enjoy. This would involve cooking and eating, maintaining relationships, a career (unless blogging is yours), paying bills, etc etc etc. This pace somehow seems normal.

So, what I profess are 5 tips to decompress from this manic life we lead. The bonus is you will return to your work refreshed and energized and with a brain that actually works.

1. Stop and look and listen. When signs of exhaustion set in, it is often too late. Your brain is already fried and perhaps you are reading and re-reading the same email or find yourself missing entire sections of a friend’s story. There are multiple signs of overload. It may be a headache. For another, falling face first into your keyboard. Pay attention to yourself and the signs of exhaustion. Rushing to a finish line is only valuable if you remember the ride and you have a clue where you are rushing. So, just stop and evaluate how you are feeling.

Stop, Look and Listen by MC Lyte:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl-YR0JRnGY”>

2. Schedule breaks into your day. As nerdy as this might sound, set alarms for mini-siestas each hour you are working. Let’s say you sit down to write correspondences and/or to do work at 9am. Set the alarm for 20 minutes and stop when the buzzer sounds. Use a kitchen timer, preferably a digital one as the noise might drive you mad, defeating the purpose of this whole exercise. Another tool is a desktop widget that allows for different alarm settings. One such tool is the Simple Timer Gadget 1.0, downloaded for free at:
These are noiseless and can be used if you are in an office environment.

Get up from your desk and take a break. Set a buzzer for when the break should end, say 10 minutes later. So your day may look like this.

1pm Set timer for 20 minutes; FOCUS AND WORK
1:20pm Set timer for 10 minutes; BREAK
1:30pm Set timer for 20 minutes; FOCUS AND WORK
1:50pm Set timer for 10 minutes; BREAK

Continue as appropriate. You’ll be amazed how much your focus will improve, how much more you accomplish, and how much your morale and motivation improves.

This is somewhat like mental interval training. Your brain works for a spurt, you have a goal, thus improving motivation as an end is in sight. Ding, the alarm sounds and you are on break. Perhaps it is 10 minutes of talking on the phone, reading a fun article, or throwing in a load of laundry. The important detail is that you are removing yourself from the same focus and as a result, you are better conditioned to do work when you return.

3. Nosh regularly. The next piece of advice is to feed the engine that is your brain. Perhaps you feel that sitting and doing work does not require as much fuel as running a marathon. Well, you are right, except for the fact that your brain still burns calories. By eating healthy snacks throughout your day, especially during those solid work phases, you are maintaining your sugar levels and energy for that boulder on your shoulders. Vegetables, fruit, a wedge of low-fat cheese, a few crackers are some of the snack ideas I’d recommend. Do not indulge in high-fat, greasy foods as you are providing more bulk for your behind than your noggin.

If you wait too long, you might overeat and eat too fast:

Preferably, you’ll have a healthy snack like one of these two fellows:

4. Walk around the block. On one of your 10 minute breaks, get your rear in gear and out of a sitting position. Get your blood flowing. I’d especially recommend opening the front door and walking around the block. A change of scenery and some blood flow will improve your mood, your coloring and will freshen your perspective upon return to the desk.

5. Lastly, reward yourself for your hard work. Plan something fun for the evening. Have a scheduled manicure or massage. Have a Netflix DVD waiting. All work and no play makes for a dull life.

2 Comments

  1. cyberpenguin said,

    GREAT article! Absolutely LOVE the hampster photo! And the bulldog snarfing down his food! HAHAHAHA! Got lots of laughs reading this one. Very entertaining & informative post as usual. Good job once again!

  2. RennyBA said,

    Very readable post. I’ll try to stay focused, take breaks and sty in the present:-)

    Btw: Thanks for the add at BlogCatalog – always great to meet new blog friends!
    Next time you take a break, hop over and I’ll show you a bit of Norway:-)

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