Zenlike calm in the heat of the battle is only possible if you’re well prepared. Agility is only possible if you’re starting from a position of being prepared and ready to react immediately, producing the right response. And you’re only ready to be ruthless if you’ve got the energy.
Being mentally prepared of course means mindfulness, but it also means looking after our most precious resource: our own attention and energy. As such, we need time to be off duty too. Perhaps being off duty involves a long Facebook binge or surfing crap on the internet. Perhaps it involves going out with friends or taking time to focus your attention onto something completely different (or onto nothing at all). Many people are pressured by their bosses to stay late in the office. I have talked to a lot of people who say that even though no one feels like there’s anything to do, let alone feels ready to do anything, they still stay – for about five minutes after the boss has gone home. If you’re in a job where you’re under this kind of peer pressure, it needs to change.
Lunch is not for wimps
‘Crunching’ is a term that means buckling down, eyes on the deadline or conscious of the busy period ahead. It means not looking after yourself and not coming up for air. Crunching is a great short-term tactic when the going gets tough. But studies show that sustained periods of ‘crunch’ only lead to diminishing returns. In the film Wall Street, Gordon Gecko, played brilliantly by Michael Douglas, uttered the now legendary phrase, “Lunch is for wimps”. It stuck in the collective consciousness and you’ll still hear it used to this day. Well, lunch is not for wimps. But preparedness is for Ninjas
Preparedness leads to magic
It’s difficult to say why taking lunch or short breaks during the working day always brings you so quickly back to ruthless focus and your ‘A’ game. It just happens that way. Periods of rest are vital for preparedness. Next time you spend any meaningful length of time during the hours of nine to five not working and move your attention onto something completely different, just watch what happens; I’ll bet that on that day, you’ll get more done, not less. It’s like a magical little secret. Different shifts in gear seem to work for different people, but it’s as much in the body as in the mind. A five-minute blast of fresh air is infinitely more effective than ten minutes screwing about on the internet with your work still open in the background. The trick is to find the thing that works for you.
Like this? Try these
You’ll get a nice lunch at one of our public workshops
10 Ways to Eat Yourself Productive « thinkproductive.co.uk