I’ve come to realize that I have two very opposite settings when it comes to functionality in my life. I either tend to be hectically busy or insanely lazy. I enjoy having a lot to do, but I get overwhelmed if I don’t have adequate rest time; however if I have too much rest time, I become absurdly apathetic. I’m beginning to learn the balance of doing and being – How can I DO things that are helpful and productive and yet still have moments of simply BEING at rest?
To make things easy, I’ve broken down what I’ve learned to help me be motivated and feel refreshed.
- Make a plan. I like to make lists…A lot. Generally at the beginning of my work week I make a list of things that need to get done and I prioritize those tasks and projects. Having bigger and smaller tasks separated makes it easier to pick out what to do daily. Start your day with something small to get the productivity flowing and then set aside time to tackle some of the bigger things.
- Cut out the non-essentials. There are probably things in your life that you’re doing that you don’t really need to be doing right now. This plays into part 1 – make a list of all the things you’re doing and all the things you want to be doing. Begin with doing a few things regularly, but don’t overload your schedule and burn yourself out. As you get used to having more tasks, add more to your load to keep broadening your capabilities.
- Do something that you love at least once a day. Maybe there’s something that makes you feel really happy and light – not an escape, but a type of respite. In the middle of my workday, I like to take a few minutes and watch a funny video, or listen to a really fascinating podcast. A little focus shift to something you love can give you so much more head-space for the rest of your day.
- Turn off all but the urgent notifications on your phone. A few months ago I turned off all the notifications on my phone except for texts and Facebook messages and it has freed me from my technology in a huge way. That means no emails when I’m not at work, no updates about who liked an Instagram photo, and no suggested Pinterest pins. I also deleted the Facebook app from my phone, so if I need to check it, I go on the web, or I just wait until I’m on my computer at work. I’ve changed from my phone checking in with me to me checking in with my phone.
- When work is over, work is over. Unless you have some big emergency or a really pressing deadline, you don’t need to bring work home with you. Leave your emails at the office and spend some time with people you love.
- Spend time with people you love. Yes, getting to know new people is really good, but make time for those you already do know. Go have dinner at your parents. Grab a drink with your girlfriends. Get coffee with Grandma. The moments you enjoy with the people who have always been there will be the ones you treasure when others have gone.
- Lastly, and far from the least, rest. Maybe resting means you sit on the couch and watch a movie. Maybe it means going for a run in the cool of the evening. Whatever it looks like for you, it should make you feel refreshed and ready for a new day. I like to take some time in the evening to do something creative – usually a craft/art project or a bit of writing. Rest for me is doing something that, at the end of it or when I’ve finished it, I can breathe deeply and enjoy the feeling of deep satisfaction.
So I suppose that’s it from me. It’s definitely not all you can do to be most productive and truly rested, but it’s what has worked for me. The greatest thing I’ve found, however, is that if you’re doing things you truly love and taking time to appreciate life, you’re resting as you move along and never really get into a state of frazzled busyness.