By now you know that we’re a digital marketing resource center that focuses on helping small businesses and startups with their marketing and communications strategies. Our support and expertise does not just reside inside this “digital marketing box.” We’re also here to provide you with tips outside of this box.
I speak to too many people today and their chief complaints are, “I just don’t have time for that” or “I can’t even breathe, I have been getting crushed lately.” I walk around my office and see too many people with a sandwich in their left hand, crumbs on their lap and a mouse in their right (I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to the dual sandwich/mouse routine). As professionals and so called experts in our respective crafts, we become immersed in our work and sometimes don’t know when to get out.
Below are ten tips to reconnect with yourself and reclaim your life outside of work. After all, work (especially work you love) is fulfilling, exciting and gratifying but there’s a time when it’s healthy (and necessary) to remove yourself from it and take care of yourself.
1. Meet Others
Get out and meet other people. There are a number of ways to do this. To reconnect with those around you and in your company, join your company kickball or soccer team. You know those emails you get (that you ignore or flag to read later) about young professional networks at your firm and Lunch N’ Learns with the CMO…well, go to these! You will soon find that the 45 minutes spent away from your desk, allocated to lively, active discussion, will reinvigorate you.
2. Take Care of Your Body
Many of us have desk jobs. It’s a fact that sitting for extended periods of time is harmful for your health. Recent studies have confirmed that this is true…the severity of which is alarming. Never before in history have human beings sat as much as we do today. With the advent of TV, computers and desk jobs, we’re sitting an average of 9.3 hours per day, which is over an hour and a half longer than we’re sleeping (7.7 hours). I don’t know about you, but I find this stat to be insane. Here’s more food for thought:
- People with sitting jobs have 2x the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs
- As soon as you sit:
- Electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off
- Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute
- Enzymes that help break down fat drop 90%
I’m not sharing these statistics with you to scare you. Rather, I am highlighting just how important it is to move around regularly during the day, even just for casual activity, such as a stroll around the office.
Bottomline: Allocate 3-4 hours of your week to regular exercise and you will realize the benefits to your health and your productivity almost immediately.
3. Send Personal Notes to Five Friends and Family a Week
In an age of text messaging, Facebook messages, tweets, iMessages…the list goes on…our interactions are becoming more and more sterilized and impersonal. Break the routine and craft a handwritten note to your buddy who moved across the country. Pick up the phone and give your Great Aunt a call that you haven’t spoken to in six months.
Reach out to your customers not with a generic “thank you for your business” note but share with them a story about yourself. Better yet, send them a book you recently read, that you think they should read too. Include a personal message in the inside cover.
Bottomline: Dedicate 30 minutes a week to reconnect with family, friends and business contacts. You will find that by reconnecting with others, you’re helping yourself, as much as you’re helping those you’re reconnecting with.
4. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteer your time. This doesn’t have to be the classic volunteer case, where you’re assisting at the local soup kitchen or helping with set-up at a local 5K. Do you love coaching? Reach out to the local school district and see if there are any opportunities to coach in the next six months. If they don’t have openings, ask for organizations and contacts that may need help.
In a more immediate manner, share your knowledge at work. Is there a colleague that has been grinding away at a task all week? Sit with him and ask him how you can help? You will be amazed at how open and honest people will be with you. Oftentimes, they won’t even need your help; they only need someone to speak with.
Bottomline: Google “volunteer organizations in your city” and a host of organizations will fill the entire first page of Google.
5. Be Endlessly Curious
Ask your colleagues who are 5, 10, even 20 years your senior, “What would you do differently with your career if you could turn back the clock x number of years?” Or, “How did you end up here? What’s your story?” You will find that your co-workers generally are effusive about their past and are oftentimes more than willing to share their stories, as well as dispense advice.
My Tip: I carry a digital voice recorder everywhere I go, Monday through Friday. I’m always ready to capture a conversation that I know may benefit me or better yet, advice that I would love to share with our readers on Get Busy Media. This is one way I connect with people and I have found that people respect me for being prepared and diligent in my preparation for our conversations. I love meeting other people and this shows when I whip out my pen and pad and my voice recorder.
6. Keep a Journal
I wish I was better at religiously keeping a journal and recording my daily thoughts. I do, however, keep an “Ideas” journal where I scrawl any and all ideas that pop into my head, at all hours of the day. I bring this with me everywhere, Monday through Friday. You will be amazed at how recording your daily thoughts help you channel your energy into a positive, organized, creative plan-of-action.
7. List 5 Items You Want to Accomplish This Year and Set a Due Date
That’s right. Write down your 5 goals for the year and set a due date next to each one of those goals. Don’t type this out; rather write this out in pen on a small piece of paper. Now fold this up and stuff this in your wallet. Viola! Now your goals will constantly be top-of-mind. You will find it’s awfully difficult to ignore them when they’re with you every day, as opposed to under a stack of papers in your desk drawer at work.
8. Make Weekends Your Productive Time
Use weekends as your time to cruise through tasks and chores that you didn’t have the time to finish during the workweek. Three benefits of making weekends productive include:
- Distractions are minimal. You will find that no one is emailing, texting, Facebooking or calling you at 8:30am on a Saturday morning. Heck, no one will probably interrupt you for another three hours.
- Work at your pace. There’s no boss, deadline or client request coming through the hopper. You can work at your pace and sometimes, this is all you need to spark those creative juices.
- Set Yourself Up for Next Week. By hammering out consulting work, home improvement projects and catching up on personal email over the weekend, this leaves you more time to focus on your actual work during the workweek. Success stems from preparation and cutting out distractions. One way to do this is to get ahead during the weekends.
9. Surprise Yourself Once a Month
Not the spontaneous type? That’s ok, that means that only once a month you will have to submit to your fears and try something completely out of your comfort zone. Looking to shake things up? Try something you have always wanted to do, but have never had “the time” to do it. Hot air ballooning, wind surfing and base jumping are a few of the crazy ones I want to try. These may take a little planning. How about shoot for smaller, more digestible surprises, such as trying that meatball shop in the Lower East Side you have been meaning to go to for months or exploring Prospect Park in Brooklyn?
10. Say ‘Thank You’ to Strangers
I know, I know. We’re all aware that saying “thank you” is at the top of the list for anyone with proper etiquette and manners. Most of us thank those we know. Try this….go out of your way to thank a stranger. This could be the doorman of your apartment, the kind gentleman who checks your ID card each day or the bus driver who safely transports you to work each morning. Make it a habit of thanking or doing a good deed for a stranger each day. The dividends you will reap from this will be enormous.
What tips did I miss? How are you taking a step back from work and finding your “inner chi?” I would love to hear your strategies. Please share your experiences below in the Comments section.