Have you ever spent a day banging your head against a brick wall with a problem that you just can't solve?
Analysis paralysis can strike anyone, especially if we forget to take breaks and reset our brains. I'm currently involved in three startup businesses as well as a full time job. Until recently my mentality has been to keep trucking, keep on working on stuff. Honestly it's not been working so I've made an effort to adjust my work/life balance to make sure I'm more effective in both areas.
I've thought I'd share some of the tips that have helped me rejuvenate my thought processes recently.
Sometime last summer I had started skipping my regular trips to the gym because life got to busy. Yeah that was a bad decision in many ways. Recently our family doctor "prescribed" 40 mins of exercise a day for our son who suffers with anxiety. Parental commitment can be a strong motivator and so my wife and I decided to add him to our gym membership and take turns taking him. Not only has it helped him but I'm feeling much more focused, more energetic and have a greater clarity of mind to solve problems. You don't have to have a gym membership, take a brisk walk with the dog, your partner, the kids or even just by yourself. Get that blood flowing and you'll find it helps everything.
I find that a change of scenery really affects my productivity. Go out and work for an hour or two at a coffee shop, see how much more you get done. Take a weekend and explore your local community, you'd be amazed what you'll find if you focus on making sure it's something new. Weekend breaks and vacations are great for resetting the mind. If you're feeling overwhelmed, escape for a day or two. You'll come back brighter and ready to tackle anything.
I've always been a little guilty of keeping a fairly close knit circle of friends, relationships that have been developed over a long time. Friends that can finish your sentences and know what you want at the bar are absolute gold but sometimes you need to be pushed to think differently, act differently. I find the best way to do that is to meet new people in a change of scenery. Go to a Tweetup, attend a mini-conference in your area.If you're uncomfortable in those situations that's all the better. You'll be learning new skills too!
Back away from the computer and read a book, there's still something magical about turning those pages and kicking back in a comfy chair. To get new ideas read something outside your area of expertise or a novel. I've heard also makes you a better writer too, another win win! Next up on my reading list is the 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear.
It's easy to get caught up in our own work or worries. A few months ago I was super stressed out about work, personal projects and future plans. It had gotten me down for about two weeks and I just couldn't shake it. One day I took a look around me and saw a a work colleague and friend dealing with her fourth funeral in two months. A sister in law dealing with two children under two while her husband fought cancer, and my wife who was watching her brother go through untold suffering fighting cancer. These people were all under way more stress than me, and I felt like stupid for moping around while they dealt with things an order of magnitude worse than my issues. We organized a bunch of flowers from the team for my work colleague and I got two more bunches to my sister in law and my wife. I think it brightened their days and it helped snap me out of my slump as well. Lesson learned, helping others feel better or do better in their lives will have a positive impact on your own.
Laugh and make sure you do it every day. Not only does everyone love a good laugh but there are many health benefits to laughing including reducing stress. A clear and de-stressed mind helps you focus when you needto, and if you're laughing with friends that's even better as you're strengthening relationships too.
I hope that I remember to look back at this post when work and life throws itself at me hard again and I remember that although I think it;s my work and computer that earns my living it's really all about balancing work with life and it's always about the people around you.