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14 Things to Remember When Having a Bad Day. (And Any Other Time.)

14 Things to Remember When Having a Bad Day. (And Any Other Time.)

Sometimes everything just seems to work out fine. And sometimes, well, it doesn’t.

Here’s 14 powerful reminders to help you find your footing back when life throws you a curveball and things go different than expected.

1.  Some people will not like you and what you do.

And that’s fine. Their opinion is just that – their opinion. And not the absolute truth about you.

2.  You’ll fail.

And that’s fine too. It doesn’t mean you haven’t got what it takes. It just means it didn’t work out as expected. Know that you’ll thrive tomorrow thanks to the mistakes you’re willing to make today.

3.  Success is the action you took, not the result.

Value the effort and dedication you put in – especially when the results are less than what you hoped for. You did show up. You actually took action, and that deserves a pat on the back.

Don’t use any less than results to beat yourself up with. Those results as just feedback to inform your next step – no more, no less.

4.  A should is just a could in disguise.

Don’t should yourself into doing something.

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It’s not because it worked for them that it is right for you. It’s not because you always did something that you need to keep doing it. It’s not because they expect you to do something that you should comply.

Every should holds a choice – even though the should might present itself as a unshakable truth or a must comply with instruction for how to live your life.

Replace the should with a could – literally – and see how all of a sudden abundant possibility opens up.

5.  A halfhearted yes makes everyone lose out – you included.

You, them, the work you are doing – we all lose when you don’t engage 100%.

When you say yes to something, give it your all. And if it’s not a 100% yes, then make it a no.

You’ll be astounded by how much time you’ll free up to spend with people that truly nurture you.  You’ll be amazed by how much time you’ll free up to do things that truly light you up.

6.  A tiny change does make a big difference.

Do just a bit more of what makes your heart sing and soul soar each day. And just a little less of what drains you. You’ll be astounded by what a huge difference those small changes make.

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7.  Slow and steady is good – even when everyone else seems to be moving fast.

Slow and steady can move mountains. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you should take big steps and turn your life upside down overnight because someone else did.

Choose a pace that works for you and keep moving one tiny step at a time.

8.  Other people’s success is not a prescription for how to live your life, nor a measure of your worthiness.

Be inspired by other people who are living their dreams and know that their success doesn’t mean that you are a failure for not being where they are in life.

Use their approach to life as an inspiration to fuel your dreams. See them as an example of what’s possible, but stick to your own voice, your style, your personality, your pace.

Don’t copy them and how they do what they do – you’ll never be able to be as good as the original, nor should you.

9.  All is not as it seems.

Your outside doesn’t always reflect how you feel inside. Neither does their outside always reflect how they feel inside.

So don’t be fooled by appearances. Don’t sabotage yourself by thinking that they always got all the answers, oozing confidence 24/7.

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They search for answers too. They feel small, worried and insecure too. That’s how we all do it.

10.  Rest is not a luxury. Rest is a necessity.

So rest. Vigorously.

Rest is fuel for the soul. It’s not a waste of time, but a life-saver. Don’t save on it.

11.  Laughter truly lights up a bad day.

Yes, that sounds cheesy. But yes, it is the truth – genuine laughter and a dose of playfulness do light up a tense conversation, a gloomy mood, a rainy day.

So laugh. Be goofy. Be playful. A lot. And then some.

12.  You are your soulmate.

Shower yourself with love. Just because. Unapologetically. Unconditionally. And even when the going gets tough.

Love yourself when you’re happy and love yourself when you’re not. Because there’s not a moment when you don’t deserve your love.

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13.  You are a one-of-a-kind original.

Honor what makes you you – instead of hiding it.

Your ideas, your voice, your style, your way of doing things, your work, your dreams – they’re as worthy as anybody else’s.

They’re what make you irresistible to the people who truly get you. They’re what make you irresistible to yourself – fulfilled, joyful and free.

14.  Following your fascination brings you closer to who you truly are.

It might seem crazy, weird, stupid and out-of-character, but explore your fascination nonetheless.

Your fascination is a pointer to something you are longing for, something that you might need to bring into your life. It’s your soul talking to you. Make sure you listen.

 

What do you remind yourself of when having a bad day? What do you tell yourself to find your footing back?

Featured photo credit: myxabyxe via flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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