In a world where we are being pushed towards extracting as much time out of the day as possible, it’s important to take a step back and think about what’s going to enable you to perform at your best.
While filling every moment of your day with something seemingly productive might seem like the best way to achieve success, in the long run, you’re likely to experience burnout and lose sight of what it is you’re actually trying to achieve.
Countless employment studies indicate that more and and more employees are feeling burned out every day. So much so is this a problem that many of us face, that the World Health Organisation added the term burnout to its handbook of medical diagnoses.
Is this something that you’ve experienced?
Why productivity overwhelm can be a problem
Everyone operates at a different pace, but ultimately, if you’re not making time each week to step away from the busyness of your day-to-day, you may suffer as a result. Workers that experience burnout are more likely to:
- Get sick
- Be less engaged
- Experience higher levels of job dissatisfaction
So why stop yourself from being the best version that you can be. As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, famously said, ‘The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.’.
Here’s how you can start taking back control of your week.
Blocking out personal time in each week
Whether you work for an organisation or for yourself, mark a decent amount of time out of your work calendar, let’s say half a day to a full day, for self care and development.
While this might seem like a considerable investment of your time, the return that you’re likely to see is going to far outweigh the investment.
If you can afford to give yourself more time off or if your organisation can offer you more flexibility, take the opportunity to invest in yourself.
How to set boundaries when blocking out personal time
You need to be strict with this period of time and set some parameters to ensure that you:
- Make yourself unavailable for business meetings
- Don’t take phone calls or reply to messages
- Switch off from social media
- Aren’t running personal errands
Once in place, you’ll be looking forward to this time to tune out. However, there’s no doubt that life’s distractions can get in the way, so here’s what you can do to help with protecting this time
- Turn off your phone or computer and switch on your out of office email or message bank (or start by turning off message notifications on the devices you use)
- Clearly communicate your lack of availability over this period to colleagues and clients
- Do not schedule any business meetings over or close to this time
How you can use this personal time
Now that you’ve made a commitment to make this time only about your self care and development, here are some ideas for how you can use that time.
There’s no doubt that you should be trying to exercise more than once a week, at least daily is preferable, but the key difference here is that you can use this blocked out time to make it an activity that you love. There’s no excuse now for why you shouldn’t have time to do that activity you might not often have time to do.
Whether you decide to go surfing at your favourite beach or visit your preferred yoga studio, it’s important that you really engage with the activity and be present. For instance, if surfing, use this time to really feel the sensation of the waves on your skin, the sand beneath your feet and smell of the ocean in front of you.
You’re going to feel so much more refreshed and reinvigorated after really engaging with an activity that brings you joy.
People who tend to really succeed at life are the ones that are constantly striving to learn more and evolve.
How much time are you currently allocating to your personal development and growth, outside your career?
You can use this time each week to:
- Read or listen to a book. Doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, just as long as you’re taking something away from the content and experience
- Watch a TED talk
- Undertake study in a new area. There are plenty of online courses available that can help with reskilling
At our core is our humanity, and with the busyness of life, it’s sometimes easy to lose touch with one another. This can leave us feeling isolated and a little lonely.
Make yourself available each week to catch up with:
- Family, friends or a partner for a check in on how everything is going
- A mentor to talk through where you are at
- A mentee that you can instil wisdom and knowledge on
This time isn’t about networking and talking purely business but about really connecting with the person that you’re spending time with. Plus, who doesn’t love a long morning spent over good coffee.
One of the major keys to success is goal setting. And not just in the work that you do. Do you want to buy a new house? Do you want to shift into a new career in property? There’s so much that we might be looking to achieve.
Use this uninterrupted time each week not only for setting goals around different aspects of your life, but for reflecting on your progress. You might find that something that you once thought was important has now become less of a priority. You’ll only really know by listening to yourself and having those deeper conversations.
Another great way to utilise this personal time and add value and enrichment to your life is by helping others. Take the focus off yourself and your own challenges and problems, by helping someone else in need. You’re guaranteed to walk away feeling better and with a little more gratitude for your own circumstances.