This year has been a crazy time for me. The last two years of covid-19 lockdowns and uncertainty and bad eating had all caught up with me. I was a mess, struggling to have energy, struggling to to do anything that required emotion investment to the point of turning of my phone in fear of talking to families and friends and cutting away any work that did not fit the criteria of both necessary and easy to accomplish. Just as a way to manage my life until I could take a bigger break to look after myself. That being said, the good thing about messes though is they allow you to discover different ways to get to your goals. For me the biggest one was taking adequate breaks and spending more time looking after myself. In this small space of time I found a myriad of tools for helping me in many different ways and although I do not know the full science behind many of them I thought I would share a few and how they have helped me.
1. The Strategic Triangle
A simplified, broader version of Mark Moore’s strategic triangle which has the points on it Value (the value what you are doing), Capacity (The ability that you have to make it happen) and Support (the support around you to make it happen). With the idea that if one thing changes the other points on the triangle have to change it as well. This was a great tool for at least two reasons, the first was to quickly assess the benefit and ability to making anything happen and also it made it easier for me to portray to other people when I didn’t have the capacity to make something work at a certain moment.
When things start to feel like they are getting too much breathing for two to three minutes to calm down is really helpful. In the early stages of recovering from my burnout I used the Breathly app a lot. Sometimes in the breaks of a pomodouro app (see below). Giving even just a couple of minutes to reset can not only help wonders but you can utilise it at almost any time.
3. Pomodouro Timer Method
In my head the Pomodouro technique is about making sure you take adequate breaks and helping you to complete tasks. It works like this, work for 25mins on a single task and then a five minute break. After 2 hours take a 15 minute break. It’s good because writing breaks into your work time really helps and sometimes there’s a lot going on to focus on and giving one task 25 minutes I find helps me a lot.
4. Good posture
Standing or sitting tall, elongated spine, head slightly forward, relaxing into it. Not sure of the science but it helps me to feel more open, stronger and aware of my body. Worth a try.
5. Long (but not tiring) walks in Nature
Sometimes having time to yourself is really positive, I feel happier, more connected and a lot of the time come to work decisions naturally and easily that I may be hitting myself against my computer for hours trying to get to. On another note if there is an easier and happier way to get work done or go for a decision. Why not take it, no point making your life harder or be unhappier for little reason.