This week, I want to talk about a lesson that may sound counterintuitive and seemingly self-contradictory, and that is working hard at relaxing.
At the time of this article, the holidays are upon us. It is a time to enjoy family and friends, to celebrate our successes for the year, to reflect on the things we’ve learned, to be grateful for all the blessings that have been poured upon us in the year, and to be mindful of those things that are most important to us.
Now if you’re a productivity-minded person, as I am, and measure yourself by what you get done, this time of the year can be quite challenging. Why? Because from a purely productive standpoint, this is not the most productive time of year.
The point is, you have to be very intentional about unplugging, especially if productivity is a natural focus for you.
This time of year is about re-centering yourself. It is about reflecting, rejuvenating, refreshing, and reconnecting with those who are most important to you. It is about making sure your actions back up what you say when you tell people they are the most important priorities in your life.
Now while all of this may seem unproductive, the fact is, taking this time of reflection, refreshment, and reconnection will increase your productivity exponentially in the long run.
For one thing, it helps you focus on your true priorities. And for another, it renews your energy to actually be more productive over the long haul.
I am here to tell you that it’s an important objective, and you can plan it. You must tell yourself, “I’m not going to try to squeeze in a little work here and there.”
And you know what?
Contrary to popular belief, the world won’t end if you take a holiday.
In fact, you will benefit greatly from taking time away.
More importantly, those who are around you will benefit from you disconnecting from your normal routine in order to be relaxed and fully present with them during this time.
In the common vernacular…CHILL!
A lot of words have been used to describe me, but “chilled” is not usually one of them. However, during this time of the year, I purposely work to get to that chill point, and I do a good job.
This doesn’t normally happen in the early part of the season because I still have to shake that desire – that innate habit – to be productive and get a lot done. There is an adjustment period, and I am certain many of you have that same experience. The key is to purposely start turning off those things that pull you back into the vortex of work and to train your mind to stop “doing” just for a time and “be”.
It is “Sharpen the Saw”.
Sharpening the saw is simply a metaphor for you getting your edge back.
And you do this by the following:
- Reconnecting with those who are most important to you
- Reflecting on past success
- Rejuvenating body, mind, and spirit by slowing the pace
- Refreshing your outlook on life
- Refocusing on priorities
You know I always say, “Make it a great day!”
And now I say, “Make it a great holiday season…by working hard…at relaxing.”
Ed DeCosta is one of the most engaging executive coaches and thought leaders of our time. He delivers results with companies of all sizes, from high tech start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. Ed is an ICF certified professional coach. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University, a master’s degree in international management from the University of Texas, and an MBA from the University of Texas. Ed is also an adjunct faculty member in West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics, teaching Professional Selling and entrepreneurship courses.