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Stop Forcing the Momentum and What Off-Days Have to Do with It?

Stop Forcing the Momentum and What Off-Days Have to Do with It?

Your current pace isn’t showing any signs of slowing; it seems you’re always busy and constantly on the go. You’re working as fast as you can, but there’s no time left for you, for reflection and renewal. There’s got to be a better way to live and work.

You desperately want to find time for you, and for improving your work, your skills, for observation, for growth, but there’s now white space left on your calendar. It doesn’t take long, before you start to feel tired and inefficient because of your current situation. Yet, you don’t want to stop – in order not to break the momentum.

But is this “forced” momentum really worth it and is it actually doing you more harm than good?

The illusion of productivity

Many people consider productivity to be working as much as possible, but that isn’t the case.

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Part of the definition of productivity is also slowing down and taking a breather. However, if you are skipping the breaks then this nasty habit is going to get to you at some point: You’ll be exhausted and stress yourself out for nothing.

Another part of slowing and taking a break is for reflecting on your work processes: What have you achieved? What methods worked and which could be improved on further?

The fact is that you need to do this kind of analysis on a frequent basis. Otherwise, you can keep working and working, until you realize that you have wasted your time doing too much unnecessary work. Moreover, that this could’ve been prevented by stopping for a moment and looking around.

Forcing yourself to keep up the momentum

So what is the real reason why you keep working like this, even though you know you should stop at times?

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First, the fear keeps your wheels rolling. It’s not letting you stop, because if you do you’ll fall behind on everything – or at least that’s what fear thinks. You’re also afraid that your momentum will stop, but you should be asking where is my momentum taking me.

Second, your attitude also matters. In your words, “the more I do, the better I am as a person” may work on some level, but for how long?

If your daily life is just hard work without any reprieve, do you think that you can keep this indefinitely? Or do you think that what you are doing now is just a short-term strategy? If it’s the latter, how can you work better to reduce the stress and improve your effectiveness?

The STOP sign

So, how do you improve your situation?

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Allow yourself to stop!

Yes, allow yourself to take a break on a frequent basis for renewal, analysis, education, and planning.

This is actually a major shift in your mindset and it plays a big role in what happens next. The shift is also helping you to change your negative attitude towards taking time off. If you’d normally label yourself as a procrastinator or a lazy person if you take time off, giving yourself permission to do so can help you to quiet those negative thoughts.

It’s the same thing as if you’d be trying to lose weight: If you allow yourself to eat something unhealthy every now and then, instead of beating yourself up about it, you might actually reach your goal even faster.

From forced to relaxed momentum – how to

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1. Allow yourself to stop. This is the most crucial mindset shift you can make: allow yourself to stop at times.

2. Understand the benefits. For instance, you’d have more time to plan, analyze the past, and even prevent future mistakes from happening. The off days are also great for “sharpening the saw” – educating yourself. No matter how good you are now in what you do, you can always do better and improve. Finally, slowing down is a great way to take your mind off work for a while. This way you can have more energy for your future projects and tasks you have coming up.

3. Find the perfect time for the day off. Decide to have at least one day off dedicated on a weekly basis for analysis, planning, education, and renewal. In my case, this day is on Sunday. When I reach my off day, I know that I have also reached the end of the workweek and that I can slow down a bit. This off day gives me a needed break between the current and the coming workweek.

You can work only so much. At some point, you have to find time for planning, analyzing, and renewal. In addition, although you might find it difficult in the beginning, you’ll find it comes easier. You’ll begin to see the big picture and have more motivation to tackle your work with enthusiasm and energy. It gives you a more relaxed type of momentum.

Over to you: Do you take time off on a frequent basis?

Featured photo credit: Businessman sitting on a chair via Shutterstock

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Timo Kiander

Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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