Relax and Refocus

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I sometimes get stuck in the middle of the day. My mind starts listing out any number of things I need to complete by six o’clock. This can lead to a near panic attack, I kid you not.

I always intend to go to an exercise class at the local gym at 12:30, but rarely take time for it because I’m too busy…you know, all those things I need to get done by six…

Yesterday, however, I unchained myself from my computer. I yanked on my tennis shoes and headed for the car. I arrived at the gym at 12:20 and perused the class listings for 12:30. (Yes, I knew there would be a class. But, no, I hadn’t a clue if it would be aerobics, muscle, or stretching.) It turned out to be Beginning Yoga.

How hard could that be?

Not hard at all, as it turned out. But, I was in for a few surprises.

The exercise room was dark, except for little battery-operated candles that were scattered on the floor throughout the space. Soft music played over the speakers. 

I stumbled to an empty spot near the back. I soon realized I couldn’t see the instructor from that location, so I moved to the front row.

Her soothing voice and the soft melodies soon pushed my myriad thoughts aside, as I focused on my breathing and sense of well-being.

Tranquility in the middle of a busy day! 

Stress that I carry in my neck and shoulders all but disappeared. My face relaxed. 

If there had been a bed nearby, I could have crawled into it and napped the rest of the afternoon.

Back at home, I grabbed a glass of iced tea and headed toward my office. My head was now clear of the “clutter” and I was able to complete four hours of more creative and productive work than I could recall doing in weeks.

OK. So, you’ve tried yoga and it’s just not your thing. I get it. Try going for a stroll, riding a bike ride, enjoying a massage, taking a drive up to the lake…

The point is: take a break.

Unchain yourself from your computer.

Relax and Refocus.

I’m betting you’ll find yourself doing the best work you’ve produced in a long, long time.

And, remember:  close it down at six o’clock.

 

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The Pause that Refreshes

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“I’m going for a walk.”

“Want me to go with you?”

“No, I just need a little space.”

“Space for what?”

“You know, some time by myself to do a little thinking…to get my thoughts together before the big meeting.”

Jim voices a common need for many of us. He knows the value of a reflective pause.

Juliet Funt, CEO of White Space at Work, calls this pause for restoration—this brief period of reflection, this pause between activities—White Space.

As authors, we may need White Space many times throughout our work day. I often head for the refrigerator to refill my glass with ice, sit on the concrete bench in my backyard, or drive to the dry cleaners. Others may go for a walk or a swim.

It doesn’t really matter where we go or what we do, the fact is we need to let go of thoughts that rob us of productive time at work.

It may happen at specific times of the day or it may be quite unexpected. It may be caused by overwork or fatigue.

The point is we often need White Space to redirect our attention back to the task at hand, so that productivity climbs and creativity is restored.

So, take that nap, or walk the dog.

White Space is “a break with a lofty purpose.”