Some years ago you made a radical change in your life: you were a heavy procrastinator until one day you wanted to change your ways. You decided to get rid of this bad habit for good and become a productive and organized person.
You figured that if you’d become a person like that, you’d feel energized and happy, since you were finally able to get stuff done.
But there you are now – a very productive person – and yet, you start to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. You are wondering why you are feeling like this, but you cannot find any rational reason behind your feelings.
At the same time, you know that this is not how you should feel and you start looking for a solution to your situation.
Well, I might have something that could solve your issue and it’s perhaps something you are not expecting.
You need breaks – and not just between the tasks
Here is the thing: you keep working hard all the time – day after day.
Then at some point, your brain starts to send you messages saying: “You need to slow down a bit – you are working too hard.” However, this doesn’t stop you and you keep working the same way as before.
Instead of ignoring your internal messages, you should pay very close attention to them. Your brain is messaging you for a reason. It’s trying to tell you that you should slow down a bit so that you have more energy to continue with your work later.
Unfortunately, you don’t want to slow down. In fact, you feel obligated to work hard and take advantage of every minute you have – without any breaks or slowdowns.
Is the fear keeping you on the move?
Instead of feeling overwhelmed and burned out by productivity, it should be fun and meaningful.
However, there is this other – conflicting – voice in your head, that is competing with the “slow down” message and this is sabotaging your efforts to recharge your batteries from constant action.
When you hear this other conflicting message, you are afraid that you’ll:
- Label yourself as a procrastinator, if you slow down or take a break
- Fall back into unproductive habits that you had earlier
- Be unable to reach your goal fast enough
Now, those reasons are valid enough but then again – they do not justify why you are pushing yourself unnecessarily to your limits.
Regular productivity cheat days
The solution I’m going to offer to you may scare some. Yet again, this is exactly when the fear starts to kick-in, so hold on a second and don’t run away.
The fact is that no matter how productive you are, you need to take proper breaks in order to take care of yourself. And as an entrepreneur, blogger or whoever who is doing any bit of creative work, this habit is very important.
So what do I mean by taking proper breaks? Does it mean like taking small breaks between tasks?
Well, even though that is a start, I’m talking about a little bit different thing here and that involves cheating.
Cheating, you ask? Yes…cheating.
You see, some years ago I changed my diet and lost weight. And in order to reach my goal (thinner me), I had to cheat a bit.
I allowed myself to eat more freely and soothe my mind by eating something unhealthy on occasion.
So even though I wasn’t eating the healthiest foods all the time, it gave me the motivation to continue with the weight loss process successfully.
Now, take this same concept of cheating and apply it to productivity. Like in a diet, have a cheat day in your schedule. Allow yourself to procrastinate a bit and just relax.
Your work will always wait for you and I bet you are anxious to get back to work, after cheating a bit.
In fact, you’re energized to finish your task list and get stuff done as soon as you get back to work.
What do you think? Are you willing to give it a try?
Productivity cheat days – the essentials
Follow these steps for becoming a successful “cheater”:
- Plan your cheat days. First of all, you should find an optimum cheat day in your schedule. In my case, my cheat day is mostly on Sundays, but you might have another day which suits you better. I chose Sundays as my cheat days is because it’s the end of the week. This is a nice way to end my week – by recharging my batteries – and preparing myself for the new week…
- Break the pattern. Stir up things a bit and shake up your regular patterns. Don’t touch your e-mail; don’t look at your task list or just wake up later than usual. Remember, this is the day when you are allowed to cheat at a bit.
- Take in some offline fun. Spend more time with your family. Go out with your spouse, play with your kids, do some household work that you have been putting off. What if you just rested, rented a movie, or took a long walk outside in the nature?
- Enjoy your cheating – guilt free. The most important thing is that you should enjoy your cheat day without any guilt. Enjoy the situation and feel energized to return to your normal routine again the next day!
It’s easy to keep on working and being super-productive – day after day. However, you need to take a break at some point.
One way to do it is to have regular productivity cheat days when you break your current patterns for a moment. This way you are energized to crush the task list the next day or make big steps in your current project that you have been working on.
Just remember, that you should enjoy these cheat days – guilt free. You have worked hard and now it’s time to slow down a bit.
You have deserved it!
Over to you: Do you take productivity cheat days?