Three weeks ago I got super sick.
Normally I can kick a cold pretty easily. Often times I don’t even get sick all the way. I have my regimen I do when I start feeling the crud: I take special herbs and vitamins, use my neti pot, cut out sugar, increase water and sleep, and manifest my buns off toward wellbeing.
But this time was different and I could feel it.
These last 6 months have been crazy in my business. I’ve packed things in a little too tight to where I’m not getting enough rest and not enjoying life enough. I just move from one task to the next, pushing through thirst, hunger, and exhaustion to get things done.
It was no surprise to me then when this last cold took me down hard. But what did surprise me was what I learned from it — Not just that I need to rest more (yes yes yes), but that I can get more work done by working less.
Let me explain…
Being down for a week (and I was) isn’t really an option in my business right now. Whether you’re employed by a company or by yourself, I’m guessing it’s probably not for you either. Who has that much sick leave?!
So like most of you would probably also do, I tried to work through the sickness. There was stuff that just HAD to get done.
This proved to be a fairly hard task. If I sat at my desk or so much as thought critically about something for 5 minutes, I started to feel really sick and my body would ache.
My body had reaaaaalllly had enough of me pushing her. She was done.
So I yielded. I gave myself deep permission to be sick. I gave myself deep permission to lay on the couch and nap and watch movies and play video games and nap some more. No guilt allowed.
And while healing was definitely top priority, I knew that I still had to get those work things done. So I did the only thing I could do:
I worked in 5-minute increments.
With lonnnnnnnng breaks in between.
I oscillated from the couch, to my computer, to bed, back to the couch, to my computer again.
I did a lot more sleeping and relaxing than working, and a surprising thing happened: even though I worked less hours and took way more breaks, I actually got a lot more done than I normally would!!! I was like “daaang, I’m good!!” (high-five self)
Here’s why this worked:
- I made quicker decisions and didn’t over-work a task because I knew I only had 5 minutes to do it.
- And because I knew I only had 5 minutes, I wouldn’t let myself get distracted by shiny objects (notifications, other to-do’s, new ideas).
I got my shit done and then went and laid back on the couch.
This idea isn’t new.
It’s a method I’ve heard of many times — working on things in small, uninterrupted increments of time… Even with long breaks in between.
But I never really allowed myself to try it until it was the only option.
Usually my approach is to just push through thirst, hunger, and exhaustion to get things done.
And deeper than that, I realize I equate that push feeling when you’re busy and stressed, to the feeling of success and accomplishment.
I knew that wasn’t right. I knew there was another way to get things done, but I wasn’t quite ready to try it.
Is it weird to say I’m happy I got sick?
It sucked, but it totally showed me a whole new possibility for how to approach my work. A way where I can actually enjoy my life, and even get more done in my business.
This method has continued to work too.
Since I was sick few weeks ago I have still been trying to work in short periods of time and take breaks in between to recharge or work on other stuff at home.
The days I do it, I get SOOOO much stuff done and feel really accomplished, relaxed, and even happy!
If you try this method, here’s the four keys I’ve found to success:
- Prioritize your to-do’s. Check out a book called “Eat that Frog” if you need tips.
- Minimize Distractions – Turn your phone off and stay away from Google. You must be vigilant in staying focused on the task at hand until it’s complete.
- Give yourself a limited amount of time to complete your task. This creates the hustle and pressure to make fast decisions. Even if it’s a longer task, like writing this blog post, complete it in shorter increments. I like to set a little blue bird kitchen timer I have.
- Take breaks! This part is really important! Just try it! When your time runs out, take a break. Get up and walk away from your project to drink water, stretch, read a few pages of a book, or sit on the couch and do nothing — whatever will make you feel rejuvenated!
The work we do in the world is so important, but so are our lives and our hearts.
I hear so many women talk about how they’re too busy to take any time for themselves. And I get it, I was just there.
But will you at least try it for a day? I think you will be surprised at how much you get done and how refreshed your heart feels.
Give yourself permission to sit on the couch, to take a bath, to cook a meal without thinking about work. To laugh, to giggle. To appreciate the softness of your flannel sheets, the smell of your lover, the sunshine on your face. Notice the way the fur on your cat floats in the sunlight. And just be. Sink into your heart like snuggling into your favorite blanket. Soft, warm, and thick with the scent of home.
Everything will be alright. In fact, it will be grand.
There’s more than one way to do this, and we here with you, learning too.
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Lots of Love,