Advertising

Why you need a Weekly Reset

Advertising
Why you need a Weekly Reset

How many times have you said the following to yourself? “I can’t wait for vacation to start so I can reset, refresh and get going again.” Or perhaps… “I wish I had a vacation coming up so I could reset, clear my mind and refocus” And while thinking about how much you need a reset and a vacation, the actual time between now and your actual vacation keeps growing so much that we keep building up this event so we can rest, rethink our priorities and re-energize.

If we come back from our vacation rejuvenated, the reset was a success, if we don’t the reset was not long enough – we didn’t have enough time on our vacation to accomplish all that we wanted to do.  And/or if we come back totally stressed out, we blame it on doing too much on the vacation, instead of resting

But all of this could not be further from the truth because the problem is not what you are doing to reset, but rather the frequency of the reset itself. No matter the long hours you are working, the project deadlines and deliverables, you need to have an ongoing, consistent reset that has the potential to replenish your spirit – physically, emotionally and spiritually. That’s a tall order, but not impossible.

Advertising

There are a number of paths a weekly reset can take – they don’t all need to be sweat inducing marathons of yoga or deep introspective reading but they should be enough to free your mind and disengage it from your day-to-day so it forces you to focus solely on the task at hand.

Physical

Exercise is a great reset because it jumbles all the chemicals in your body and forces you to focus on the next task at hand – that next run, those next barbells, that last push-up – primarily because if you fall or drop a dumbell, it is going to hurt.

But even when you have such a dedicated focus on the task at hand, your mind wanders from your problems at hand to focussing on the pain in your knee (how can you make it better) or the sore muscles in your shoulder (which feel good) as your mind leaves the results of the last meeting behind you.

Advertising

I have never practiced yoga but have watched as many people eagerly attend sessions that let them focus on balance and stretching for an hour or more – leaving the room energized, motivated and refreshed. For awhile I was doing a lot of swimming and found this a great way to relax and refresh. Thinking of work problems stopped when I swam repetivive laps back and forth for an hour.

Mental

Reading a book in a genre you have never read before or writing about a topic that you have no knowledge or experience writing in are great ways to reset your mind to other problems and learn something new at the same time. Think back to when you wanted to build that backyard deck and you had to buy all those books to learn what to do. You’d read, spend time drawing it out, looking at what other people had done and learning. You might not have known it at the time, but you gave yourself a mental reset.

Spiritual

Without going into religion or faith, we all need to replenish and reset our spirit as often as we can. What that means to anyone can be very different – some people welcome and enjoy the company of others, feeding off their energy as a community to feel replenished while others prefer the solidarity of being left to their own thoughts while they watch the wind blow through the trees.

Advertising

There is no magic answer except for understanding and becoming aware that this level of reset is important for you to re-evaluate who you are and where you are going. It is not easy and generally involves us asking ourselves some hard questions about ourselves. And when do we generally have time to do this? When on vacation, when we can think and ponder on actions and decisions we have taken.

A reset can be anything but watching TV on your device of choice, is not a reset, instead, it’s more or less of a middle ground where you watch what is happening, but you drift to picking up your phone, reading that book or doing something else. It doesn’t require your focus and doesn’t leave you feeling replenished. TV can be great for relaxation and enjoyment but not as a reset.

And therein lies the key to any reset, it must pull in your focus 100% to the task at hand. I have found time over time that the best resets are the ones that thrust us out of our known comfort zone. Something that we are not familiar with, that requires 100% of your focus because you can’t waiver. This is why vacations are such a great reset because we go somewhere new, try something different, enjoy a new type of cuisine, the list is endless of all the “new” things we do that take us outside of our comfort zone.

Advertising

Think back to how refreshed and energized you felt when you came back from your last vacation, now step back and think to where and how you commit to getting that feeling every week, those fresh eyes and worldview and how they would benefit not only the problems you are working on but the problems your team and others are working on and how much better a position you would be in to help them out.

Featured photo credit: VFS Digital Design via imcreator.com

More by this author

Greg Thomas

Software Architect

How to Eliminate Distractions for Achieving Your Goals Your Routine is the Key to Achieving Your Goals Successful People Aren’t Luckier Than Everybody Else, They Just Know How to Make Good Decisions To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes Bad Bosses Bark Out Orders, Good Bosses Coach Their Teams

Trending in Brain

1 How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly 2 11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind 3 4 Ways to Develop a Flexible Mindset 4 What Is Creative Thinking and Why Is It Important? 5 How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Advertising
How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

Advertising

After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

Advertising

Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

Advertising

Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

Advertising

Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

Read Next