Focus less to achieve more? It sounds counterintuitive but poll any number of successful and high-achieving individuals and they will all say the same thing: take breaks. Working long hours with intense focus is a sure-fire way to burn out. Instead, work in short bursts without distraction—that means put your phone away, disable social media, even avoid your inbox if required.
Add to that, when you do pause, make it count. Close your laptop and get outside for a walk. Make a healthy snack, or login to a quick fitness class. But don’t sit on your phone or desktop scrolling and call that a break.
At your desk or on the job, try and compartmentalise. Our obsession with multi-tasking isn’t always a plus. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey likes to structure his week in chunks: Mondays are for meetings, Tuesdays are for product development, and so on. Such a rigid structure might not be realistic for every job, but there is definitely something to be said for starting one task and then seeing it through.
At its core, stress arises when we lose control, or when we don’t take action. So fire off that first email, answer that niggling phone call, or write out the bullet notes. Often once you start something you realise it isn’t as insurmountable as you previously thought and the very act of addressing it dramatically reduces your sense of dread.
Add to that, digital fitness doesn’t necessarily have to be a solo experience. Find friends who want to login to the same class. It’s surprisingly easy to recreate that community feeling online.
More than that. Here are a number of tangible, tried-and-tested ways to reduce stress and accomplish more
-Doodle on a notebook. Yes, drawing and colouring can be both cathartic but also help to sharpen your focus and improve your memory
-Before manifesting we had daydreaming. When in the shower or during a fitness class try not to run through your never-ending to-do list, instead use your imagination. Imagine yourself on a beach or slaloming down a ski slope and just see where that takes you.
-Look on the bright side of life. There really is something to the power of positive thinking. There are actually studies that show if that voice inside your head is telling you not to kick the ball to the right, that’s actually exactly what you’ll end up doing. So instead of focusing on what you can’t do or what you don’t want to happen, try and articulate what success looks like.
-Write it down. Journaling and diary-keeping can actually decrease anxiety and help your creativity to flourish.
-Get a hobby or two. A hobby doesn’t have to be a make-work project. No one needs to expend any energy feeling guilty that they don’t spend their weekends learning French or cross-stitching, but finding activities outside of work that is just for you can provide immediate stress relief. So whether it’s a structured class or simply tending to the rose bush in your back garden, find a few activities that give you pleasure.