How many of us, whether entrepreneurs or cashing a paycheck, stay glued to our desks or assignments for hours, even sometimes working through lunch? When we finally finish for the day, even when it’s late, how many resist the temptation to check office e-mail before dinner?
Tony Schwartz, chief executive officer of The Energy Project (www.theenergyproject.com) has studied stress and what keeps us at peak energy and concludes that most of us have it all wrong. Less is more.
We actually have more energy and get more done when we take more breaks and, yes, even more vacations. In fact, Schwartz cites studies that revealed we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. As he puts it, “Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves – the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.”
Schwarz recommends working in 90-minute intervals as a prescription for maximizing productivity. A study of elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players, found the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day. Schwartz does his writing in three uninterrupted 90-minute sessions – beginning first thing in the morning, with breaks between. “I learned,” he said, “that it’s not how long, but how well, you renew that matters most in terms of performance. “ The more rapidly and deeply he learned to quiet his mind and relax his body, the more restored he felt afterwards. For more inspiration, try reading his blogs at http://www.theenergyproject.com/blog/author/tony-schwartz
In our ever-expanding online age, it is so easy to get stressed and make mistakes that can at the least cause us embarrassment and at the worst, cause serious problems.
My friend Pragito Dove is a meditation master, author and trainer who specializes in working with both entrepreneurs and large corporations to reduce stress in the workplace.
She recently sent out this meditation to help those of us overwhelmed with e-mails, texting or social media.
Do you sometimes find that you move too quickly and forget details? As one example, these days so many of us are inundated with emails, and they can be a real source of tension.
The next time you write an email, stop for a moment and take a deep breath before you start. Allow yourself to relax by dropping your shoulders down, feeling your feet on the ground, and settling comfortably into your chair. Now write your email, staying fully present with what you are writing and with the person you are writing to. Write in a relaxed way with full awareness. If you are in a hurry, include the awareness that you are in a hurry. When finished, reread the email, checking the content, spelling and attachments, if there are any. Breathe and pause for a moment before you hit Send.
This technique saves you time and, depending on the circumstances, money.
Communication and relationships are enhanced, and you have an easy way to include mediation in your busy day. You can use this practice with other written communications and for reading emails as well as writing them.
If you are interested in receiving weekly meditation exercises, you can sign up by visiting Pragito Dove’s website at www.pragito.com