When I left my first Winnipeg advertising agency position to focus on my dream of self-employment, I found myself constantly checking my email or social media channels expecting someone to contact me. I kept thinking of all the things I needed to accomplish for my business; I physically couldn’t relax.
Nobody is actually busy, our mind is trying to process so much information and our body gets mentally and physically exhausted from thinking about everything. So in order to focus on my personal well-being the first step was to “reset” myself. Here are my five tips for resetting yourself in the workplace.
A Quiet Work Space To Allow Free Thinking
My previous work space was very active. Working in an open and collaborative work space makes it easier for people to come up to you to ask questions. Not only that, but when you work closely with many people you call friends, you chat quite a bit.
Moving my “office” onto my dining room table, there’s nobody around to talk to. I couldn’t believe how quiet the house was. I found myself thinking a lot at first, but as the week went on, I had no more random clutter in my head and was actually focusing on the work I needed to accomplish.
Turn Off Notifications – They’re A Pain In The Ass
As I mentioned, I was addicted to checking my email, my social media, and my Skype. When I was employed, I got so many notifications in a day and each one (I felt) demanded my attention:
- Email from the executive? I need to check it!
- Email from that client I’m currently working on? Check it.
- Skype message from a colleague? Could be important…
- Notification from Facebook? I’ve got a minute to take a break…
The phrase “it could be important” is a productivity nightmare and will kill your workflow. So focus on setting time aside for email, social media, or whatever it is that you need to check at certain points in the day (I’m focusing on after breakfast, after lunch, and the end of the day).
Give Yourself Time To Celebrate Success
Only you know how your time is. As an introvert, people will push you to your limit if you don’t push back. You don’t have to flat out say “No” but understand how long the task is going to take and be firm with your deadline. This was one of the most freeing things I realized.
People always want things done right away, so instead of jumping on the project right after you finish your other one, give yourself some buffer time to celebrate (in your own way) a job well done. This leads me into…
Get a Discipline, Not A Hobby
I’m stealing this one directly from Nick Offerman’s American Ham. One thing Mr. Offerman gets right is that everyone should have a discipline and not a hobby. The difference between the two (in my opinion) is how you say it. It’s like saying “I don’t want chocolate” over “I can’t have chocolate” – it completely changes your mindset.
I’m a huge board game nerd and one of my goals is to design my first board game (you can follow the progress here). What I found was that I had something I loved to do and can fall back onto when I needed a break from doing actual work.
Therefore, get a “discipline” and work towards a personal goal on whatever it is that you love.
Get Outside And Walk Near Trees
I never realized how much I never actually felt the sun against my skin while I was working inside. The only walks I took was a minute walk across the street to Starbucks, where I would be inside again. Sometimes I would walk around the block,
but when you’re downtown, all you see are people, buildings, and cars.
My business name is CoffeePowered Analytics and I feel like my home-base needs to be a coffee shop. Thom Bargen is roughly a 10 minute walk away from my house so I’ve started walking to and from the shop just to get outside and actually hear the birds chirping.
You don’t hear birds too often in the dead of winter, so believe me, you’ll be a million times happier when you walk somewhere that has trees. If you can’t get to a place with trees, just get outside and feel the sunshine for 10 minutes – your body will thank you for it.
The five tips above are things that I’ve done to reset my busy life. I wanted to stick in two more tips that I’m still working on. If you can swing it, let me know how it goes for you.
Enjoy Your Meals
Everyone needs to eat. I was awful for making my food and working while eating. When you watch TV or stare at the computer while you’re eating, you’re eating mindlessly. Therefore not only are you not enjoying your meal, but you’re likely going to overeat because you’re not paying attention to what you’re body is telling you.
Take the time to enjoy your meal, you’ve earned it!
Go To Bed And Get Proper Rest
My partner loves the late evening when I would prefer an earlier morning. This, of course, was awful for proper sleep. I always had a hard time getting up in the morning because my body just hates staying up late.
So, this is another “listen to your body” moments. It doesn’t matter if you love staying up late or getting up early, just make sure you’re getting a full eight hours of rest. Honestly, an alarm clock should never be needed, you should be able to wake up naturally if you get enough rest.