When your computer locks up and refuses to respond no matter how many keys you pound on, what’s the best way to get it back up to speed quickly and safely? If you said “reboot”, you’d be right. Sometimes your computer just gets bogged down with too many applications and processes going on all at the same time. The computer’s brain is just too jumbled to be effective. You give it a nice little break, turn it back on, and it works again. Magic.
Now ask yourself…don’t you sometimes lock up, too? Admit it. There are times when you sit at your desk looking at the stack of work to be done, emails and calls to return, tasks to tackle, and realize that you just can’t do any of it effectively? No matter how long you sit there trying to push yourself to get something done, nothing really happens. You’re wasting your time, and it won’t get any better by pounding on your own mental keys trying to flog yourself into productivity.
If you’re like most people, sometimes you just lock up, and no amount of staring at your looming stack of work is going to change the fact that you just don’t have it in you to do a good job on anything at all right then. That’s the time to go reboot yourself. Power down your computer, put your cell phone in a drawer, kill the lights, and leave. Go watch a movie. Hit golf balls. Mow the lawn. Do whatever it takes to get away from the work, not just physically but mentally. Allow yourself to enjoy being away, focus on something different, and fight the urge to think about what you’ve left undone on the desk. When you do that, you give your personal processors an opportunity to clear out the junk so you can be effective when you return.
Don’t be afraid to power yourself down for a while. It can be magic.