Monday, April 28, 2008

Relax and Recharge

If you want to stay consistent with your personal and professional growth and effectiveness, regular relaxation and reflection is a key to success. This is something I personally work on and struggle with daily. I currently read some literature from Brian Tracy on some techniques for relaxing physically that are used by some of the most successful and highest paid people in America. I would like to share with this group these points that may shed some light on others who get caught up in the fast paced world we live in.

Take Time Off Every Week:

First of all, work only five or six days per week, and rest completely on the seventh day. Every single study in this area shows that you will be far more productive in the five or six days that you work if you take one or two days off completely than you ever would be if you worked straight through for seven days.

Get Your Mind Busy Elsewhere:

During this time off, do not catch up on reports, organize your desk, prepare proposals, or do anything else that requires mental effort. Simply let your mind relax completely, and get busy doing things with your family and friends. Maybe work around the house, go for a walk, engage in physical exercise, watch television, go to a movie, or play with your children. Whatever you do, discipline yourself to shut your mental gears off completely for at least one 24-hour period every seven days.

Get Away on Mini-Vacations:

Second, take one three-day vacation every three months, and during that time, refrain from doing any work. This is easy based on our stat holiday schedule. Do not attempt to catch up on even a few small things. If you do, you keep your mental gears in motion, and you end up neither resting nor properly doing work of any quality.

Take Big Chunks of Down Time:

Third, take at least two full weeks off each year during which you do nothing that is work-related. You can either work or relax; you cannot do both. If you attempt to do a little work while you are on vacation, you never give your mental and emotional batteries a chance to recharge. You'll come back from your vacation just as tired as you were when you left.

Give Yourself a Break Today:

If you are involved in a difficult relationship, or situation at work that is emotionally draining, discipline yourself to take a complete break from it at least one day per week. Put the concern out of your mind. Refuse to think about it. Don't continually discuss it, make telephone calls about it or mull it over in your mind. You cannot perform at your best mentally if you are emotionally preoccupied with a person or situation. You have to give yourself a break.

Go For a Walk in Nature:

Since a change is as good as a rest, going for a nice long walk is a wonderful way to relax emotionally and mentally. As you put your physical body into motion, your thoughts and feelings seem to relax all by themselves.

Eat Lighter Foods:

Also, remember that the process of digestion consumes an enormous amount of physical energy. Therefore, if you eat lighter foods, you will feel better and more refreshed afterward. If you eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, your digestive system will require far less energy to process them.

Be Good to Yourself:

Since your diet has such an impact on your level of physical energy, and through it your levels of mental and emotional energy, the more fastidious you are about what you put into your mouth, the better you will feel and the more productive you will be. We know now that foods high in fat, sugar, or salt are not good for your body. The lighter the foods you eat, the more energy you have.

I hope some of this advice was helpful. Now the next question is now you know all this information, what are you going to do with what you know?

Here are the first steps I suggest you do after reading this:

  1. Take the time to find out what will really allow you to unwind. Ask yourself what do you really enjoy that has nothing to do with work? Is it reading, writing, exercise, catching up on sleep, having a steam, a hobby, etc, etc?
  2. Plan your week in advance (weekly plan on Thursdays for upcoming week). Build into the plan actual relaxation chunks that you enjoy for at least one day/afternoon/evening per week. The key is to discipline yourself to make this happen when it is scheduled.
  3. Take the time to plan out your year for vacation time several months in advance. Ask for the time off work, book the vacation and once you've paid the money, you will be much more likely to make it happen!

Good luck and enjoy the feeling of of being recharged!

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