Each week I write about organizing – usually how to create order and clear clutter. I am breaking on that theme for this article because I just relearned something that's vitally important. This week I took a break, a real break, and I did something completely unprecedented – I left my computer and smart phone at home. And, horror of horrors, I told my clients I would be unavailable for a few days. I was anxious at first. After all, I am usually tethered to my email so I was like a fish out of water. But to my surprise an amazing thing happened – I relaxed! Truly and deeply, in a way that I never have before.
I have never really been the kind of person who is able to easily relax, so this whole experience is still amazing me. The best part is the by product – I am back at work and I am able to focus with much more energy. I am able to tackle my tasks with ease and I am getting more done in less time. It's a winning combination of efficiency and effectiveness.
Just to be clear, intellectually I know the benefits of taking a break and getting away from the routine of daily life. I even counsel clients on all that is to be gained by doing so. I know it's healthy to rest your mind and body. It's just that it had been a really, really long time since I had heeded my own advice.
Another benefit I reaped – I am still savoring a sense of calmness at having struck a good balance between being productive and being able to let go of all thoughts of productivity. I had been putting so much emphasis on producing every second of the day that I had been forsaking my playful side. I forgot how much fun it is to play! My new mantra is playing is productive. Play energizes me and that means when I get back to work I have zest, I feel awake and alive. No more will I say no when fun comes knocking – that would be foolish when there is so much to be gained.
As long as I am sharing this laundry list of positive outcomes, here's one more – my creativity has skyrocketed. OK, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but it sure feels like it has and that's what matters. I am finding that I am looking at my challenges from a different perspective. I can problem solve more quickly and I find that I can come with multiple solutions. I don't know about you but I love being able to think outside the box.
My advice, take the time to step away even if it's just for a bit, you are bound to come back to the table with new energy and a new outlook.
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