Take A Break & Get More Done

AdviserBlast – Quick Tips to Accelerate Your Practice

In this issue: How working longer and harder lead to less productivity, and the surprising solution!


"Just get it done!" When a deadline is looming, we often feel we have to plow through a job, to keep going, whatever the cost, to just get the job done. But this approach can easily backfire, leaving you frustrated and burned out, with the job still not finished, or worse, finished poorly!

I got a lot of great feedback on last month's newsletter about making distractions work for you by giving in to them, and so I wanted to share more with you about taking strategic breaks from your work so you actually get more done!

Jeff Galloway, a renowned marathon trainer, has a run-walk-run program many marathoners, especially first-timers, have followed with great success. Instead of pushing themselves with everything they have throughout the whole 26+ mile monster race, runners will break up the longer distance into smaller, achievable chunks, interspersed with times of rest. So, a marathoner may run for 4 minutes and then walk for 1 minute. The runner is never far away from a respite. In fact, the hardest part of this system is having the runner take the minute break even when they feel fresh.

We can learn from this process in our work. Often, thinking we are working productively, we will push ourselves to maintain focus until we can no longer keep it up, but not realize that the quality of our work has deteriorated. Then, when we do finally take the break we need, we take a much longer break than is really necessary, justifying it because we've spent an extended period of time working. However, this only makes it harder to re-focus and get back into the rhythm of our work.

By taking regular breaks, even when we feel like we don't need them, we will sustain a better work rate, keep higher energy and focus levels, and manage time more effectively. The temptation to extend a break is less because we know we have another one coming within the next hour or so.

Some might look at this and think, "Sure…in an ideal world," or, "Great if you can find someplace to work where you can take 5-10 minutes off each hour."

But I'd ask you: Are you paid to "work," or to get results? Do you go into your office each day to spend time there, or to get things achieved?

Don't assume that just being active automatically leads to great results. If you want great results, focus on the quality, rather than the quantity, of your approach and effort.

You may be surprised at how much you can achieve in a 50 minute time-block when you're fresh, focused, and fully prepared to tackle the job at hand!

Breaks can also be useful as a reward to keep you going on projects that feel endless because you really don't enjoy them. You will make progress step by step and can look back on the completed task with great satisfaction.

You don't need to feel guilty because you're taking a brief break, even though you still feel fresh: it is the best way to sustain a higher quality (and ultimately quantity) work rate.

Find the time span that work best for you – maybe it's 45 minutes or maybe it's an hour and 15 minutes – it depends on you and your style and temperament.  Don't let yourself reach the point where you feel so jaded that taking a short break is the only thing on your mind; if you get to that point, your break is sure to drift to a longer time, ultimately really interrupting your work rhythm.

So, take a break! You'll avoid fatigue and burnout, better serve your clients, and be increasingly more effective with your time, talents, and effort.

Take it "easy,"

Copyright Paul Kingsman 2011

As a motivational speaker and executive coach, Paul Kingsman helps financial services professionals successfully grow their businesses by taking practical daily steps to achieve outstanding long-term results. Combining his experiences as an Olympic medalist and his background as an adviser, Paul understands how to stay focused over the long haul, as well as the unique business challenges faced by advisers. Through his professional speaking and executive coaching he equips them to overcome distractions so they can get the money they need, the clients they want, and the time to do what they love.

To find out more about how Paul can equip you or your team to achieve outstanding results, visit paulkingsman.com/coaching or email him at Paul@PaulKingsman.com

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