My week wasn’t that good. I’ve done too little. I just needed some time for myself, which was annoying, as I didn’t get to do what I had to do.I really wanted it different. I know I have to work on my goals, yet it didn’t work out. The week before I had been so busy, resulting in a less productive week this week.
I do not have time to relax
It is a mistake many of my clients make, and which I used to make. You’re thinking that you only can be productive when you work hard. You need to put in the hours, all hours. Taking time to relax, me time or whatever you need to relax, you cannot make time for. I will relax and unwind when work slows down, is what you are probably thinking.
Tell me, do you ever feel that moment has arrived, where there is so little to do, that you allow yourself to actually slow down?
Or is there always something else to do, more work to attend to? Meaning that you actually never can slow down.
The thing is when you do a lot of work, literally, you generally tend to see a direct result. Just like today: I am typing this blog and I will see the results soon. When I stop typing. You are reading it now. It’s tangible, it is visible. Relaxation and taking a break may have a huge impact but are less visible. In a direct way.
You need relaxation
But I am only able to type this blog now (on Sunday night) because previously I sat on my roof terrace and just relaxed. I allowed myself to recharge my battery, by taking a timeout.
I tried writing this blog earlier today, in the morning, and then I didn’t feel inspired. I just sat there and the words didn’t come.
Only after I’ve done a lot of other things during the day, mainly sipping cold drinks in the sun, I’m able to write this blog in no time. The words come easily to me and I’m sure I will be finished rather quickly. Taking a break helps you to get more done, be more productive, and get better results. I am not saying you should sip cocktails in the sun all day (or maybe you just should see what it brings you). But I do advocate taking more breaks then you are currently taking.
Wasted another hour again with work
You must have experienced this as well, you have to do something, which you’re not looking forward to. Yet it has to be done. So you start working on it. And before you know it you’ve wasted another hour without any result to speak off. That is most likely because you are in need of a break. You need to stop working to get productive again.
I know this sounds like a contradiction, but especially when you are extremely busy, you need to allow yourself to take breaks. It will boost your productivity, and get you better results sooner.
I have been struggling with this for a long time, myself. Yet, I had the urge to work fewer hours and less hard. This is what I realised: the work never stops, nobody forces me to work the way I do (giving it 200% a 100% of the time) and I enjoy my work a lot more if it isn’t going on continuously. So I changed it.
This is what helped me
Making a conscious decision and committing yourself to it. Deciding I would allow myself to take a break on a more regular basis and enjoy it. These days I take a break more often, even or better said, especially, when it is busy. I always take a longer lunch break, away from my desk and away from my phone. I cook myself a healthy meal, one of the privileges of working from home, and I eat my meal away from my desk.
To allow myself a true break, I tend to read a book. I yet have to find the patience to sit and do nothing else besides eating on my own. I get more stressed as my mind goes back to what I need to do. Reading a book (fiction or non-work related) allows my mind to focus on something else for a while.
In the beginning, I really had to get used to this, I had the tendency to keep working, skipping meals, or quickly prepare a meal and return back to my desk. However, I know research shows that it is absolutely better to take a lunch break, so I made the decision and I’ve been doing it ever since.
What do you call it?
Label it differently. Another client emailed me and said I want to have more productive hours in a week. It turned out that the hours he made, which he couldn’t directly charge to clients, he referred to as being non-productive hours. In those hours he called clients, wrote offer letters or was busy with the administration.
That does something with your mind. When you are working 60 hours a week, and you tell yourself that of those 60 hours you are only 30 hours productive. You feel you are slacking. You get upset with yourself for working long and hard, yet you have not enough to show for it. Then there is my client from my first example who said: I find it annoying that I needed time for myself.
What do you say to yourself? How do you treat non-chargeable hours? How do you label much needed time to unwind?
Stop labelling it in a negative way, and change the label into something positive. This will avoid feelings of guilt and will allow you to actually enjoy all that you put in. Including time not chargeable and time for yourself.
Let go of the limiting belief that you need to work hard. This was by far the most difficult thing to do for me. I was used to working hard all hours of the day. I had a strong limiting belief that I needed to work hard to earn money. Does this sound familiar to you?
I decided that it was time to tell myself a different story. Every time I felt I have to do this otherwise… I said to myself: I choose to do this now, and I can also choose to take a break. I make more money by taking regular breaks and by allowing myself to relax as well.
Replacing the word ‘have’ by I ‘want to’ is very effective. It takes away the pressure. But you need to tell yourself a different story too, otherwise, you keep working all hours.
Keep going and ask for help
It doesn’t get better from one day to the next. But if you succeed it is worth all the effort. Would you like to change your habit of working too hard and do you have no idea how to make this happen, or where to start? Send me an email so we can set up an appointment in which I will share with you three personalised tips.
If you are about to change something, especially something important as this, you will make this happen a lot quicker when you get help. Ask your partner, your colleague (entrepreneur) or a coach to help you. Setting the intention alone does help. When you are working on such an important shift, it is good to know that other people are going through the same. I can help you there. Want to know more? Email me and I will tell you how you can achieve working less and gaining better results.
P.S. Taking a break means putting yourself at number one. It also means that you need to take care of yourself, allowing you to take care of others. Is this something you find difficult? Email me so I can provide you with personalised tips that will make this easier. You can only poor from a filled cup. Make sure that your cup is filled by taking care of you.
Yvonne Dam is an online life coach who helps ambitious and successful people to enjoy life. She helps them to focus on what matters in their lives and careers, in order to make more money and achieve more freedom! After feeling trapped in the corporate world, Yvonne decided to do more of what she loved and found the more she chose to do what she wanted, the happier she became. Yvonne is passionate about coaching and sharing her expertise with you so you can be liberated to fully embrace life. Ready to pause your busy life for a moment and download some happy vibes? Get the FREE eBook and become happier!
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