Take Time to Learn, Reflect, and Reenergize

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 16, Issue No. 11a
March 1, 2018

By Dan Coughlin


January 3 – March 15
April 1 – July 1
August 15 – December 15

It seems to me that the vast majority of work happens in segments of about 70-120 days each. There seems to be a consistent cycle year after year. Those dates might differ depending on where you live and where you work, but it does seem to me that three times a year we rev ourselves up to go all out and work intensely, and then we start to slow down and reenergize.

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Breaks

The problem with this approach is we put ourselves on a cycle of not focusing on ourselves. When we’re in “work mode” we push ourselves to the absolute limit. We get tired, and so we eat poorly to manufacture “energy” that doesn’t really last through the day so we eat badly again.

We’re pushing ourselves as hard as we can at work, and then we come home and we are tremendously busy with our family and community commitments. We want to make a difference, and we want to do a good job at work and at home and in our communities.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is we save no time for ourselves to learn, to reflect, and to reenergize. Quite literally years can go by like the waves in the ocean. High waves are all-out work. Low waves are a week to go on a vacation or do stuff around the house that needs to be done. Then back to the high waves of all-out work and family and community involvement.

In order to make the next high wave better than the last high wave, we need to build in regular pockets of time during the busy times to learn, to reflect, and to reenergize.

Here are five suggestions for you to consider doing during your busiest work days:

  1. Read five pages a day. Choose any book that you think might be of value to you. Every day sit and read five pages without taking a break. Just read. If you really want to take that even deeper, buy a blank journal. When you are done reading, go to your journal, write in that day’s date, and write down one or two things you learned from your reading. This entire activity is less than 10 minutes. Do it before you go to bed at night.
  2. Three times a week do something for your physical health. Eat healthy for one whole day. Go for a walk. Go to a gym. Do an activity for fun. Move. Anything for your physical health.
  3. Watch a movie just for fun. Watch your favorite tv show. Allow stress to go away. Allow energy to come back.
  4. Get a massage.
  5. Take an online course just to develop your mind, not for a certificate or a degree. Don’t do it to impress your boss or get a raise. Just take a course for your own development as a human being and as a professional.

This is the time of the year when we are going all out at work, but what helps us to learn, develop, and reenergize in order to be better on the next climb up the mountain. If we never take time to focus on ourselves, how will we ever be better in our future performances?

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at dan@thecoughlincompany.com with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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