This week I share why it's so important to take a break, to rest, and recharge your batteries.
I’ve spoken a lot about habits and healthy routines on the podcast in previous episodes, but this week I wanted to change the focus to what happens when you fall out of touch with those routines and start to feel overwhelmed.
It's so important to give yourself time to rest and recharge — it's only by pausing you can truly reset and move forward stronger.
As the renowned street artist Banksy once said: "Learn to rest, not to quit."
Actions / take aways
Find ways to check in with yourself to understand how you're feeling.
If you feel you're overwhelmed or struggling, don't be afraid to pause and rest.
Every so often a reset is what you need — take the time you need to get back on track.
You might not need a holiday — sometimes just a day to yourself can help.
If you've been stuck in the same surroundings, try getting into a different environment — a coffee shop works for me.
I get a small dopamine hit whenever I check an item off my list. I have built into my muscle memory the keyboard shortcuts to record anything anyone mentions to me that I’ll need to action in the future.
But every day I still finish with items unchecked. It gets me down and it stresses me out.
Earlier this week, several people sent me this post on how a CEO manages their time and it made me question my obsessive todo list usage. Is it really helping me? Is it contributing to me feeling down? Is it actually holding me back from focusing my time on what I need to do?
For the last few days I experimented with deliberately blocking my time on my calendar for the important work I needed to focus on. I have dabbled with this approach in the past but kept one foot in the “todo list” camp and it didn’t stick.
What I found from a few days last week was eye-opening:
I was more conscious of the tasks I put into my calendar (everyone on the team can see my calendar if they want to view it)
I blocked time to focus – and this time was protected from meetings. People couldn’t book / invite me to anything that clashed.
It drove my awareness of how much time I need to spend on certain important projects – time I wasn’t dedicating before.
It made me realise I go into every day, and every week, with an overly optimistic assessment of what I can achieve, that ultimately leaves me feeling like I haven’t achieved enough by the end.
I intend to keep this approach up. I am not ready to drop my usage of Things yet – especially not for my personal life todos.
I’m interested to find out after another few weeks of using my calendar more deliberately if I can learn about the following:
How much important work can I do? Not just the urgent work.
Can I get better at communicating with others around me what I can / cannot achieve by certain dates?
Can I feel better at the end of each day knowing I've focused my time in the right places, and achieved more with my time?
The clearer I can be with myself, the clearer I can be with everyone around me, and the more I can help people achieve their own tasks and projects.
Let’s find out!
Update: in episode 10 of Lost and Founder I share what I've learnt from using my calendar instead of a todo list over the 3-4 weeks since writing this post. TL;DR: it's helping.
I don't have time to play a masterpiece on the piano.
I don’t have time to start a business.
I don’t have time to cook.
We all have the time. We’re all given the same 24 hours in every day, and 7 days in every week.
It’s not the time that’s the issue.
Our circumstances, attitudes, environments, goals, and clarity – those are the things that vary.
If your goals are clear, if your environment encourages you to achieve those goals, if your circumstances can be adjusted to allow you time and space to work on your goals – then time… time is made.
You make time for writing a blog post – one sentence a day.
You make time for drawing – with an open sketchbook, and a pencil at the ready, one 5 minute drawing at a time.
You make time for that masterpiece by time-boxing 10 minutes at the piano each morning.
You make time to start that business by sharing the idea with one person tomorrow and getting their feedback.
You make time to cook by drawing up a meal plan tonight.
Next time you hear yourself saying “I wish I had time to do that” ask yourself how much you wish you had the time. If you want the time enough then it’s really the motivation, clarity, focus, environment, and other factors you’re lacking – the time will be made.
Another week, another episode of Lost and Founder. Really trying to keep this habit up!
Speaking of habits...
In episode six, I share my distaste for planning and how I have been reframing planning in my head to encourage me to do more of it. Setting a deadline, and making myself accountable for what I am planning has been useful for showing an outcome to my thinking and planning in the last week.
I've also been reading a helpful and practical book called Atomic Habits, by James Clear. It's all about improving your life by adopting positive, healthy habits, and trying to eliminate your bad habits.
I'm still reading it, but a rule I've already been finding helpful is the two minute rule – try adopting a new habit by breaking it down into the smallest possible task, something that can be done in just two minutes. If you can master that then you're laying the ground work for bigger things. We'll check in next week to see how we're doing – if you try it out, be sure to let me know!
Actions and take aways
Set a deadline, a format, and find someone to hold you accountable to your planning.
Try the 2 minute rule with habits – let me know what you can achieve and I’ll give a shout out next week to anyone who successfully starts adopting a new habit.