Ellen is a 45-year-old lawyer who has built a rocking 7-figure firm. She has a successful career, a loving husband, two lovely teenage girls, a home to die for, and awesome friends that admire her for all of her achievements.
In spite of having everything—and more—than she’s ever wanted, Ellen feels burnt out and guilty because she needs to be more productive.
Ellen wakes up at 5:00 am every morning. She is tired in the mornings, so she often picks up a double espresso on the way to work to get a kick of energy and to focus on her job.
By 3:00 pm, Ellen’s energy is drained and she feels exhausted. To get more juice out of her brain, she sends her assistant to get her a Caramel Macchiato, Venti, Skim, Extra Shot, Extra-Hot, Extra-Whip, Sugar-Free.
At some point every day, Ellen feels that her body is crying for a nap, but her mind tells her that there is no time to waste, that she needs to be more productive and get more things done.Ellen believes that if she isn’t busy, she is not doing enough.
The problem is that when her mind is obsessed with achieving innumerable goals, she loses the ability to determine which goals really matter.
It is important to have goals and be productive, but you must find a balance between the goals in your “outer world” (your job, family, errands, etc.) and your “inner world” goals (your well-being, health, relaxation and fun time, etc.).
When you feel stressed and burnt out, you are not productive because you can’t give 100% like you can when you feel good and refreshed.
Think of of a time when you’ve gone on a beautiful beach vacation, admiring every sunrise and sunset without having to look at the clock, having fun in the waves, reading a book while you drink a margarita, enjoying a fabulous hot-stone massage, or simply relaxing in the pool.
What happens when you return to your daily routine and the office? Indeed, you may have a thousand emails waiting for you, but don’t you also feel lighter, more energized, focused, and productive?
To be more productive, you have to take a mini vacation every single day as “me time.”
Instinctively, your body knows what is best for you. Whenever you ignore its desperate cry for rest and fun, it tries to help by sabotaging your ability to focus, feel good, and be productive.
Even a computer needs to be shut down and rebooted in order to work efficiently.
Here is what you can do to reboot yourself and be more productive when you are feeling burnt out.
Take Time To Check In
Just like when you go on vacation and check in at your hotel, you will do daily check-ins with yourself. Start by simply setting an alarm at least twice a day to remind you to take time to check in with yourself to find out how you feel and what you need most in that moment.
Notice that your crazy busy mind will continue to tell you that you shouldn’t be wasting time and you should get back to work. It is in this moment that you have to take control of the situation. Notice the discrepancy between your beliefs and your present needs, and make a conscious decision to give yourself a break.
Choose Something That Feels Good
Ask yourself: “What would truly feel good to me in this moment?”
Maybe you need to take a quick nature walk, sit down for a brief meditation, take a 20-minute nap, call a friend, listen to a song that makes you feel great, drink some water, play with a pet, solve a Sudoku puzzle, read a chapter of your favorite book, watch a funny video, or whatever makes you feel good
Think about anything that brings you natural joy, nourishment, and pleasure. Then, go do it!
Here are a few examples of what some of my clients do and how they feel when they take time to do their daily check-ins:
“Every day during lunch break, I go to my car and take a 30-minute nap. It was hard for me to do this at the beginning, but I feel so good afterwards, that I no longer need a coke or a coffee and a snack to keep me going for the rest of the afternoon.”
“When I am tired at work, I get out of the office to get some sunlight and fresh air while I am listening to my favorite music. Even after a short break, I feel my energy coming back and I feel refreshed. Now, I am taking breaks more often during the day because I have noticed that I am more productive when I do this.”
“I love to have fresh flowers at my desk. Just seeing and smelling them gives me a little break in the middle of my daily busyness.”
Here is a little challenge for you:
Next week, set your alarm twice a day to check in with yourself. Do something that will make you feel great and give you a little break from your busy routine. Try to notice if you are more productive afterwards and let me know in the comments below if it worked for you.
I’d love to know what happens!
P.S. Are you always crazy busy and do you feel like something’s missing in your life? If so, you might benefit from a Life Redesign. Check it out here!