Time simply doesn’t seem to be enough and cramming our mountain of tasks into a day can leave us tired and wired so that we lose the capability to think logically and communicate effectively. With all the phones buzzing, emails and text messages beeping, and different obligations requiring our attention, our system gets overstimulated. We can learn to take time to slow down, calm down and relax between key transitions. The drive between leaving work and going home or those short breaks within your work schedule can be used to shift the energy and focus on calming down and relaxing so we can take back our time with greater focus and energy.
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Learn How To Destress And Enjoy Life Through Transitions
Our topic is going to be around transitions. This is a critical topic because I had an interview with Heidi Hanna back in 2015 and she said, “Most people are tired and wired.” We get tired and wired because of the constant stimulation that we’re creating in our own lives and that we have around us, whether it’s the phone buzzing and beeping, emails coming in, text messages, Facebook messages, and different types of obligations that we have in various parts of our life. We are over-stimulated, and we don’t take time to slow down, to calm down, and to relax. That creates that overstimulation.
One of the things that I suggest for people is that they take a close look at transitions and creating transitions throughout the day. Pay attention to those key transitions like when you’re leaving work and going home so that you don’t take all that stress and all the energy from the day and bring that home to your family. It becomes a barrier that keeps you from relaxing and engaging with your family in the way that you want in an intentional, purposeful way to create the family relationships that you want because you’ve got all this baggage from the day that you’re taking with you.
The transition that you create gets to be something that shifts your energy. It doesn’t have to be a significant amount of time. It just needs to be a focus on calming down and relaxing. It could be through breathing techniques because breathing is a very simple, very easy way to get our heart rate down, to bring ourselves to a more relaxed state. When we’re not relaxed, we’re in fight or flight mode. That’s what happens when we’re in that wired and tired state. We’re in a stress state and we’re in a fight or flight state, which means we don’t think as logically, so we make more mistakes in the things that we do. We don’t communicate as effectively because we’re more reactive and we’re not being able to have the level of patience of interaction. By adding in these transitions, especially focusing on the ones that bring you from work to home, but also, what about from meeting to meeting? I used to have this all the time where it was meeting hour after hour and they’d end on the hour and start on the hour and they weren’t always in the same room. What if you have to go to the bathroom? What if you have to get something to eat? What if you have to write some things down or check some emails?
The first thing that I suggest is that you change the amount of time that you give for your meetings and for the blocks that you’re scheduling for yourself. Instead of making them hour-long blocks, hour-long meetings, reduce it. We know that from Parkinson’s Law that you’re going to use whatever time you’re given. I have yet to see a meeting that can accomplish the same thing in 45 minutes that it can in an hour. Challenge yourself. Make your meetings 45 minutes so that you give people time to get to their next meeting, time to do a brain dump from the meeting that they’re in and clear their head before they go into the next meeting so that they’re fully present and ready to go. They also have time to prepare for that meeting going into it. That’s going to give them that space. That’s going to give everybody in the organization a structure to work with that’s going to support a more productive environment. That’s tip number one in transitions. Shorten the time of your meetings and of your work cycles.
Tip number two is during those transition periods. Give yourself a chance to do something with deep breathing, quickly listening to a song, do something that’s going to help you to relax and to get into a calm, peaceful state. What’s great is if you wear a Fitbit or an iWatch, it reminds you. You can set it to buzz every 45 minutes so you can be sure that you’re going to take that break that’s necessary. Get up, take a walk. They do desk yoga, I’ve seen that there’s different things. You want to move your body and use your breathing. That’s tip number two. During that 15-minute break, use your body, use your breathing, and get into a relaxed state for a short period of time to clear your head.
Tip number three is before you sit down or go into a meeting, get clear as to what’s the intention that you want to use that time for. What’s the outcome that you’re creating, so that you can get clear and stay focused? What’s the best way for you to achieve that outcome in that period of time? By taking just a few minutes at the start of that block of time, it’s going to create a much greater focus and that’s going to get you a better result at the end. You’re going to feel better about your result. At the end of that block, you can write down whatever it is that you have completed, but also what are the next steps so that you make it easier for yourself when maybe you were stopping a block and you’re going to be going home and you’re going to come in the next morning.
If you just jot down the few things that you need to do next, that’s going to help you pick up where you left off faster. That’s going to be very effective for your transition as well because you’re also doing a brain dump before you stopped doing that current block for tasks before you move on to something else. That’s going to be of support for you. You’re going to take two to five minutes in the beginning to plan, and then two to five minutes afterwards to sum up and decide on what’s next. That’s so simple and that’s what transitions are about.
You can use those three techniques and make sure that you make time for transitions because they are critical in your life. I know so many people who said that they worked with CEOs and we had this one conversation where he said that he was really frustrated because his wife didn’t understand him, and he would be out all day in different types of meetings and when he’d get home, he’d need to spend another hour on the computer. He’d come through the door and then he’d go up to his office and he’d spend an hour on his computer the minute that he came home and went right up there.
I asked him if he had considered coming through the door and his family is expecting that they’re going to have a connection with him. They’re disappointed that he’s coming through the door and immediately going up for that hour of emails. Would he be able to take that transition and connect with his family and then spend an hour with them and then go up to his computer and do an hour of emails? This seems like the simplest of solutions, but he didn’t realize that coming through the door and going right to his office was creating a rift between him and the family and that there was another option for him that could change that entire emotional scenario, and also have him feel better about the time that he had to connect with his family. It would create greater satisfaction on all parties and he would feel complete at the end of the day.
He reported back that that was maybe an obvious solution, but also the perfect solution and things are so much better for him at home. Also, he feels that he’s getting more accomplished because he doesn’t feel that he’s rushed in completing the time with the emails because he’s feeling guilty that he’s not with the family. Instead of feeling the guilt, he was able to come in to connect and to make that quality time and then go back to the things that he needed to do afterwards. Think about what you can be doing in your transitions.
Our topic is to think about transitions, where you need them, how you organize them, what you do during them. That’s going to help you to take back your time. It’s going to help you to get more done in less time because you’re going to be more effective in what you’re doing. Those transitions are going to lower the stress that you have, which means you’re going to bring a greater sense of clarity and greater focus and greater energy to every activity that you’re doing.
This is Penny Zenker and the choice is yours. How will you put this knowledge into practice and how will this episode change your relationship with time? I’m anxious to hear how you’re going to take back time today or this week. Go ahead and post on Facebook and let me know what’s coming up for you and how these tips have helped you to take back your time. We’ll see you next time.