Busy is a choice.
Human beings are not built to run 24 hours straight.
Even if you take out 8 hours for sleep, we’re still not built to run 16 hours straight. Nor are we built to run a full 8-hour workday.
In fact, there is science behind it that our ability to focus on one thing is about 90-120 minutes. After that, you should take a short break at least.
Recognising this cadence is the key to changing your busy choice.
When you run straight through out the day, you do not give your mind the mental breaks it needs to catch up with everything that’s happening or your body the chance to breathe. It tends to tire out your thinking and drop you out of your peak performance zone.
So building in breaks in your day is not only a nicer way to go through the day … it’s smarter too.
One of the things that also happens to you during busy spells is that you tunnel-vision your thinking and that leads to less lateral and creative thinking. No matter the job … even if you are a mathematician … lateral thinking is important. It’s what the brain is really great at – making associations between what may seem like disparate pieces of data and information. So you’ll find this is not the kind of thinking you want to shortcut.
And here’s the thing. As much as you may feel the pressures of work are relentless and do not give you a break…. Or as much as you may believe that having 4 kids at home all day and/or all evening at home is also a relentless demand on your time and attention… busyness, is truly a choice.
It may be a difficult choice but it is nonetheless a choice. The moment you accept this is the moment you then make the hard decisions that start to include more margin in your day. Start with taking just one 10 min break, and then add another 2 hours earlier or later. And then when you’ve got those down and another and on and on.
You’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to re-engage with colleagues, clients and family after those 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how much more energized and creative you become after just 90-120 minute sprints throughout the day.