A consistent goal with almost all my clients is they want to accomplish more. When I ask them how they propose to do this, they usually answer along the lines of they need to work longer and harder. So imagine their surprise when I bring up the idea of working less and actually taking time for themselves as a way to increase productivity.
Just because one puts more effort or more time into a goal does not necessarily mean they will obtain the goal more quickly or effectively. Sometimes, when the quantity of time increases, the quality decreases. Mental exhaustion, decreased concentration and stress can result in not taking time to refuel or recharge oneself.
One group that really fights me on this, at the beginning of our time working together, is medical students. Taking my workshop as an elective course, they really balk at this notion of incorporating breaks devoted to doing things they really want to do into their study schedules. About the only way I can get them to try this is to say, “Look, try this experiment. Plan a 30-minute break of something you really want to do in the middle of a long day of studying. Will taking 30 minutes off from studying really affect if you graduate from medical school? Plus, if I’m wrong, you can come back to class and tell me so!” What usually happens? The class of exhausted, grumpy medical students I met the first day of class come back to the second class excited and energized. Most report that they had something to look forward to, almost like a reward for studying hard. When they jumped back into studying, they felt refreshed and more focused.
By taking time for yourself, or taking what I call “ME TIME,” you can reduce your stress, refocus on tasks and goals and actually find more happiness and joy. The “ME TIME” you take can help you “enjoy the journey.”
So what should one do for “ME TIME?” The most important quality is that it be something you really want to do. It should also allow you to decompress or de-stress from the worries of life. Ideas can be anything from journaling and/or meditating to watching a 30 minute episode of your favorite comedy.
Along these lines, author Julia Cameron suggests in her book, The Artist Way, that everyone take an “Artist Date” each week as a way of re-awakening their creativity. What is this? It is a commitment of time that you will spend with you, and only you, once a week (no companions allowed). What do you do? Again, anything you want to do! This is especially important for people who find themselves in service to others. How can you be of service if you have nothing left to give? This is a way to recharge.
To some, this may sound like a lot. My suggestion then is to begin by committing 10 minutes a day to you. During this time, turn off the phone, shut the door and let the world spin without you. Try this for three days. See what the effect is on your life and mood. What have you got to lose? And if it works, then perhaps this will be something you might want to explore further.
Plan some “ME TIME” now. I promise, it will be worth it.
If you have a question you would like to ask Bob, email him.
Look for the answer the first Saturday of the month