Sometimes when life feels overwhelming, our instinctive reaction is to work more. This is especially true when our personal lives are demanding more of our attention; we feel we have to make up for that time, so as not to fall behind.

And, yet, I wonder if the counterintuitive response is to instead, take a break. Perhaps take more than one break. Go for a walk, go to the gym, meditate, do a few yoga poses, or simply sit quietly and take a few breaths.

And with that clearer mind the break provides, pause and think about what falls within Steven Covey’s four quadrants of time management. Most importantly, ask ourselves, is everything that feels urgent, truly important? Or is it urgent because we have lost our perspective, and are working “off the top”? In short, what is on our plate that can best be ignored, at least for now.

I remember years ago traveling with one of my colleagues. I had my files all spread out and was busy working on the plane. My colleague was sitting a few rows back, eating an apple. At the time, I thought, “well how unproductive she is; this is a great time to catch up”.

I have thought of that scene on the airplane many times in my life. It didn’t take me long to realize she chose the smarter option. The reality – business travel is exhausting; why not arrive refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the day?

And, even if you aren’t actually traveling to the next truly important event (be it urgent or even better the important, non-urgent), why not approach it with a fresh and healthy mind and body?

The result may very well be the insight and action needed to grow your company.


Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain

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