Just read Tony Schwarz’s post The Magic of Doing One Thing At A Time and thought I would share a few of my own tactics to avoiding creative burnout and squeezing all the juice from my work hours.
1. No multitasking!
one thing at a time, no exceptions. Apart from the fact I’m incapable of doing more than one thing at once even if I try. Seriously. I just fall over or something. So this one doesn’t really count.
2. Scheduled, batched email session – 3pm everyday, max half an hour.
Unless I’m expecting an email from a client; then I’ll check at 9am, 12noon, 3pm and 6pm. But usually it’s just once a day.
3. 1 hour of yoga starting between 4 and 5pm
Managing this at least 3 times a week. I now have scarily strong biceps. I did not expect this from my 30s. But besides the ‘guns’, the effect of some deep breathing meditation paired with some butt-muscle-burning Virabhadrasana is giving me a clarity and calmness of thought that is dead handy when attempting to get in touch with the subconscious for the latest ditty-writing sesh. And dealing with clients who change their minds a lot.
4. Avoid meetings that include more than 3 people (including me).
Goodness I do struggle with this. I understand that big meetings are sometimes useful for my clients but they are often inefficient. However, I understand that the client is paying the bill so I’ll work their way if it works best for them (that I’m not sure it does, but each to their own). But seriously. There’s always one person who will hold court. And the rest of us introverts will sit and make up their minds about the topic within 5 minutes then zone out.
Seriously, next time you have a meeting with your co-workers, watch for it. The extroverts hold court and the introverts just zone out. No? Oh, just me then. Eep. Or maybe the intros are just good at hiding it…
5. Breaks at least every 90minutes, if not every hour.
Just a little quickie away from the desk to top up the cuppa and stretch my legs. Looking at something other than a computer screen frees up the imagination, I find.
6. No work past 6pm
Sometimes on site I’ll get scheduled to work after this time. This is a mistake that I fail to rectify every time, and man do I pay the price. My brain is good for sweet FA after 6pm. Also coherent conversation. But wild flights of fancy? I can do that. Evening is the best time for daydreaming/making evil plans of world domination/zoning out to Supernatural. Gosh I do love those Winchester boys, they make me chuckle so.
7. One day off at least each week.
Doesn’t matter what day it is. Sometimes this gets bundled together with chores day which is faaaaar from ideal, but needs must, and a change is as good as a rest etc. But there are days, occasionally, where I say f*** it to the washing/tidying/bathroom cleaning and just sit and read a book. Or play Portal 2. Or go for a soya hazelnut latte or two with the lovely John Hunter. Those days are rather marvellous. Not least for the turbo-charging effect they have on the work I do the day after.
What about you? Tweet me if you have any tactics of your own.