Brain Breaks

This morning I was running late, it was raining and was racing to chair a Leadership Summit. My brain was overwhelmed, distracted and I was doing 3 things at once. And you guessed it, I lost focus and drove into the curb and massive FLAT TYRE!


Slow down you move too fast, got to make the morning last.

More than just a lyric from the folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel written in the 1960’s, it is also sage advice for professionals, way ahead of its time.

It can be tempting to fall into the trap that busier is better, but we have all, at one time, experienced peak periods where your time and energy is in high demand, you are juggling a whole range of responsibilities and are ‘busy’ yet feel like you are not just lacking productivity but in fact going backwards. There can also be an unhealthy competition in some industries or companies around who has the least life outside of work and who leaves latest and works the longest hours.

When you are overwhelmed with busyness and there seems to be insufficient hours in the day or week to get everything done, last thing you feel like doing is taking a day or even an hour off, to walk or meditate or even sleep, but it is probably the best thing you can do to move forward and get on with it.

Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed. – Saint Francis de Sales

Busyness also stifles creativity and therefore innovation and problem solving. Dopamine levels in the brain directly impact how creative a person is. Three simple ways to increase dopamine are to exercise, get some sleep or do something that brings you pleasure. If you are working too hard to find balance in your activity and rest times, it naturally follows that your creativity, and as a result your effectiveness and focus, will also suffer.

No matter how busy I am, I find time to read, day and night. – Lucio Tan

Distraction can also play a part in problem solving and productive thought. Ever wonder why you have some of your best ideas in the shower, on the drive home from work or as you drop off the sleep or on first waking? Harvard researcher and psychologist Shelley. H. Carson, author of Your creative brain states “In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.’’

When busy is the default pace, and there don’t seem to be enough hours, what you can affect and will improve your outcomes in all areas is energy, and taking a break is the ideal quick fix. Work too much and the law of diminishing returns will see you suffer in terms of output, and your health and emotional state will suffer also, creating a downward spiral.

A 10-minute power nap, a walk around the block, a stretching or meditation session, coffee with a friend, play time with your child or lunch with your partner, these simple yet pleasurable tasks will increase your dopamine, sharpen your concentration and lead to improved performance.

Taking a break might be just what the doctor, or in fact the manager, ordered.

I think I might take some time off on Friday to refocus my mind, have a brain break and get a new tire!

Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax. – Bryant McGill

Want to find out more how the awesome team at Sonia Mcdonald can help YOU be the BEST leader you can be – and train your amazing brain, contact us at info@leadershiphq.com.au or 1300 719 665

Remember #yourock

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