The reason most people are unable to meet their own expectations is, obviously, because they can’t put in the amount of work that is needed. However, not being able to produce is not just the cause; it’s also the effect of another, larger problem. People are unable to put in the needed work because they are unable to utilize the remaining time they have to support the efficiency of their work.
Human beings require a certain level of comfort in order to work most efficiently — the more discomfort you experience, the more trouble you will have focusing on the work and finding the motivation that is needed to succeed. It all boils down to what we want most. We may tell ourselves that we want to work towards our dreams more than anything, but if our minds are sluggish and our bodies are worn then the mind starts second-guessing itself and leading us astray.
Luckily, there are some practices that we can adapt as our own that will make working easier, focusing more natural and success inevitable. Here are 10 of them:
1. Hit the bar.
Grabbing a couple of drinks with your friends after a long day of working is a great way to help unwind and to distract yourself from all the work ahead of you. Get together with some friends for happy hour drinks and forget about any problems that you may be experiencing at work. Socializing helps the mind change focus — which is needed from time to time — and moderate amounts of alcohol reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Plus, it relaxes you after the first drink. Keep it moderate because overdoing it will only leave you feeling worse the next morning.
2. Get creative.
Play an instrument. Do some painting, drawing, sculpting -- anything that you enjoy and that forces you to focus on your movements. Doing something that requires you to be creative works parts of the brain that may not be flexed throughout your workday. Just like you don’t want to just work out certain muscles, ignoring others, you don’t want to work only some parts of your brain — you want to try to work the brain as a whole. Although we are still working on decoding the brain, studies have shown that working on something that takes creative thought helps the rest of the brain function more efficiently.
3. Take a walk.
Spend some time outdoors. Go for a run, a walk, a hike or just sit down under the shade of a tree. Get some sunshine and fresh air. Outdoor activities have been proven to increase your efficiency and productivity once you do get back to work.
4. Play a physically demanding sport.
We are humans — but we’re still only animals. Smart animals, but animals nonetheless. Our bodies and minds require us to exert ourselves physically to perform properly. The mind and body are tightly linked — one directly affecting the other. The chemicals that our bodies release while playing intense sports help the brain function properly. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun. Fun is good.
5. Hump like a rabbit.
There’s nothing much more relieving than a good hour's worth of sex. It mixes the benefits of rigorous sport with the physical pleasures resulting from the close and intimate interaction with another person. There’s no better way to get your mind off your work than working towards orgasm.
6. Get some sleep.
Sleep is extremely underrated. Just because we can manage with only five hours of sleep doesn’t mean that we should. We are capable of managing under many less than ideal situations, but the goal is to maximize efficiency by maintaining a certain level of physical and mental comfort throughout the week. There’s no better way to rejuvenate your mind and body than by getting a good eight hours worth of snoozing.
7. Catch up with your family.
Family can be your greatest support system if you allow it. It’s what having a family is for. Your family is in your life to help you when you need help and guide you when you need guidance. On top of that, the closeness that we feel towards our family cannot be fabricated or replaced. Your family can make you feel nostalgic, safe and comfortable — allow you to put aside the workload you have ahead of you. Not everyone is so lucky to have a supportive family; if you do then make sure to use that fact to your advantage.
8. Plan your next mini vacation.
Vacations themselves are great for relieving stress. It’s a way to remind yourself that there is more to life, more to you and more to the world than the walls around your office. Moreover, the anticipation of an upcoming vacation does wonders for your mood. Excitement isn’t a cure all… but it’s close enough.
9. Read a novel.
Fictional reading is one of the best ways to clear your mind. It allows you to transplant yourself from your reality to the reality contained between the covers of a book. Novels allow you to transport yourself to another place, another time, maybe even another dimension. They always have grand-morals that will give you a different outlook on life and often will bring great ideas to the forefront of your consciousness.
The busier we are, the less likely we are to slow down and to experience the essence of living itself. We fill our minds with things from the past and the future, not bothering to look at the present. We keep so busy that we don’t realize all the little things that we feel living in our skins. Taking some time to slow down, sit still and control your breathing will allow you to keep yourself grounded and present in the moment. Meditating regularly can — literally — change your life. Don’t knock it until you try it.
Top photo credit: HBO/Entourage