Monday, March 05, 2012

The Value of the Little Break...

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

Cliff enjoying a 'little break' on the beach at Matamanoa, Fiji

So often in our rush to get everything done we push through exhaustion and work for long periods of time until we can almost work no more. We feel compelled to be at our desk, to be 'active', to be 'working' when often we would be much better served taking a break and coming back fresh.
I know there have been many times that I have sat staring at a blank page, exhausted, waiting for an article idea to come to me or for inspiration from the heavens to finish the latest chapter. And who hasn't at some stage found themselves pushing 'send and receive' or flicking mindlessly through facebook in an overworked daze?

When we find ourselves in this position I think we can all recognise that we are not being effective.
Work that we produce in these times of 'brain fade' is of a poor quality...if it happens at all!
We are simply wasting time by not being as effective as we could be. Attempting to work when unable and thereby forsaking other awesome things we could be doing (like surfing, lying at the beach or doing Jiu Jitsu!) is simply wasting our time - and wasting time is wasting life.
Every interminable moment we sit in that brain hazed state we are letting our lives drip away moment by moment.

All that is often needed is a small break . As little as a 5 minuite break can be enough to recharge our energy levels so that we can effectively get things done.

In Time Rich Cash Optional I write about NOT working if you are not being productive. Take a break instead in order to become more productive.

If you feel that you're simply 'spinning your wheels' take a short break (5min to 15min) and get away from what you are doing and do something else - or simply lie down and chill out.

Many of us do a lot of our work on a computer and so using this break time to do some realigning, activating and mobilising work for our bodies is a win-win.

Some of my favourite things to do on those long days in the writer-sphere include:

  •  Doing active mobility work (pike arches, lunge stretches, hip circles, arm circles etc.)
  •  Do some yoga poses (sun salutations especially)
  •  Do some body weight exercises (I often go outside and do 2 sets each of pushups, pullups and dips on a pergola outside my back door.)
  •  Lie in the sun (my favourite! Nothing like falling asleep in the sun for a little Vitamin D boost!)
  •  Take a siesta (Ever since my time in Buenos Aires writing Choosing You! I have taken to having a siesta in the early afternoon on most days. On days that I do weightlifting training and Jiu Jitsu training in the same day I find this essential to re-energise)
  •  Do a 5min meditation (During a short break is a gfreat time to re-balance, centre and ground yourself with a short meditation)

Lately I have been trying the Pomodoro Method. It's a good reminder to take those little breaks that help us to remain fresh and energised.

I used to really want to get everything done by the end of the working day...and often I ended up absolutely destroyed at the end of a day. I wouldn't take breaks and I would push too hard.
...then I had a realisation that life is a process...and it ain't over until it's over.
In the meantime, to enjoy our process as much as we can we need to preserve our energy and eek all the enjoyment we can out of our beautiful golden moments.

Appreciate those little breaks, they are powerful tools in your life of passion and purpose.


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