It has been quite a long time since I last published a post here at shakeclouds and I am very sorry about that.
Many people think that bloggers stop writing as they “get a life”, that blogging is just a way to escape reality, to keep fantasizing about life and finally coming up with some worthless solution for any kind of problems that one might encounter in his life.
Well if I am still here blogging is because I strongly believe that this is not true.
When I open my text editor it is because I feel I have a message to share. Writing really helps me to put some order in the chaotic flux of thoughts that continuously fill my mind and so blogging is a perfect way both to better understand myself and to help others. My goal is not to find the perfect solution to everything, but to share my opinion so that others might get a benefit out of my experiences: there are billions of people out there and for sure there is also someone who might appreciate my effort and learn something from it.
In this two-week period I have learned an important lesson the hard way, and it hasn’t been nice. Keep reading and maybe you will be able to avoid living the same situation I have faced.
Few posts ago I have talked about the importance of taking breaks during our working hours (read about it here), but there is a huge gap between understanding something and putting it into practice: when we have an incoming deadline we might become blind and forget about all the useful things we have learned until now. As a consequence I have started to work more and more hours every day: my mind was totally absorbed by my project and I couldn’t see that this behaviour was seriously hurting myself. But this was the wrong approach: as I kept working and left everything else aside I started to be less productive and more tired.
My days were hard, but my results really poor. I even tried to decrease the sleeping hours to have “more time” but even this technique turned out to be self-destructive: after one week my body simply said “stop” and I had to spend the whole weekend just sitting in my sofa, completely unable to do anything.
This clear and unexpected message from my “body” made me think about what I had been doing and the feedback I was having in terms of productivity.
Probably the most important realisation I have come to is that we are not robots. We cannot keep working like if there was no tomorrow, we can’t simply change batteries and keep doing our job: we need a balance in our lives. If we push to much in one direction we are going to miss something else in another area and this is something we should try to avoid.
No one can reach real happiness just by working nor by just having parties: it’s the savour of different activities and tasks that gives beauty to our existences.
There is so much I would like to add about the lessons I have learned from these two weeks, but I am sure that a fellow reader would prefer an easily readable list, and so I have drawn it for you:
- We really need to take some breaks. I will never repeat it enough: I know it might be hard to accept it, but if you are working hard you really need to take some breaks if you want to prevent your brain to get smashed (I have experienced it on myself). Stress is cumulative, we can just tolerate a certain amount of it and then our body says “stop”. If you want to work more, first of all you should do everything possible to ensure that you have the required energies: sleep more, relax more in the free time and get a lot of fun when you are out with friends. (If you want to know more about the cumulative stress theory, you can find a great article about it here).
- Sleeping is not enough. If we try to compare ourselves with robots we might say that the hours we sleep are like the energy charges a robot needs. Well this is only partially true: a robot is designed to carry out its duties but has no feelings nor emotions. If we sleep more we might recover energies, but by just working we will still miss social activities and fun, which are essential elements in our lives. When you just work you slowly develop the idea of “necessity”: I have to work because.., I have to do it no matter what.. but this same idea of necessity is going to kill your productivity in the long run. If you see nothing in your future but some more work you lose your motivation: give you some prizes for the hard work, organise something great for the weekend and so you will be working with the idea that you will soon have some great time.
- Having a schedule is a great thing: but you need a realistic one. If you know what you are supposed to do you will most likely save a lot of time, but if your schedule is way too much optimistic you will just end up frustrated and depressed. If you want to plan your work do it in the most realistic way possible: be aware that you will not be able to work many hours straight, that some other activities might pop up and that you might be required to change your initial plan. Remember to be flexible: if something goes wrong with the initial schedule try not to go mad, instead update your plan and prioritise the most important activities. Be willing to get rid of tasks you consider important if they are not necessary: your time is limited and so you can’t expect to be able to do everything.
- Focus on the activity, not on the deadline. If you keep thinking that you have just few hours to complete a task or few days to hand in a big project you will just feel overwhelmed. And when you feel overwhelmed your mind will not be able to work effectively. If you want to get the best out of your work try to focus on every single activity: think about ways to improve the quality of work and to reduce the time it will require. What matters the most is the process itself and how you experience it.
Guys, that’s all for today. I hope you liked this post! I look forward to know if you have ever experienced a situation like the one I have described. How did you faced it? Do you have any other suggestion to share with the other readers?
We are all ready to read about it in the comments below! You comments might be really usefull for other people: don’t be shy and share your personal experience.
As always I would like to remind you that can follow shakeclouds and receive every new post directly in your inbox just by hitting the subscribe button (I will send every new article directly to your inbox and you are free unsubscribe whenever you want).
In the end I would especially thank my friend and blogger Danica who nominated shakeclouds for the “one lovely blog award”: without your encouragement and enthusiasm this post wouldn’t have been written!