One of the easiest ways to stop the overwhelming stress and burnout of a busy work day is to slow down, let go, and ask yourself three simple questions. This guide will teach you how to slow down a busy work day.
How to Slow Down a Busy Work Day | A Guide to Get You Started
Have you ever felt that the day went by in a blur? You cannot remember where one meeting started and one meeting ended. From our physical meetings to our video Zoom meetings, it’s a struggle. Add on top of that your daily commute and email overwhelm, and you’re all but sure to feel burned out at the end of the work day.
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How to Let go of a Busy Work Day
Remember, clutter is anything that takes away our energy and focus from what is most important to us. I call the things that affect our ability to process a busy work day Mental Clutter. Make sure you go back to my previous blog post on this topic.
Picture this: Think about all the transitions you experience during the day. Take a moment and write a few of them down here. Answer these questions about each transition:
- Do you ever carry over negative energy from one activity to the next?
- Do you ever feel depleted but still plow into your next activity without a break, even though you know you should take a breather?
- Are you losing a sense of presence and appreciation for life and others the further you go in your day?
I know, I’ve been there.
As an Associate Professor at a School of Pharmacy for Doctor of Pharmacy students, my plate is full. I often go from back-to-back meetings, to teaching the graduate students, to answering emails from students, to committee work for the university, and coming home to run my own small businesses. Days easily feel like a blur, and the feeling of work burnout can creep in without us even realizing it.
First Steps to Stop Burnout from your Work Day
Become a Master of Transitions
When you have back-to-back meetings or things scheduled on your calendar, become a master of transitions throughout the day. Transitions are a necessary part of our day. We transition from home to our car to commute. Then, we transition from our car in the work parking lot to going into work. We transition from reading emails to working on a project. When we pick up our kids from school, we transition to mom.
From now on, as you move from one major activity to the next, try this Letting Go Exercise:
- Close your eyes for 1 minute.
- Sit up straight.
- Breathe deeply.
- Repeat the phrase let go in your mind over and over again. Command body to let go of tension in shoulders, neck, face, jaw, back, legs.
- Set intention.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Returning to Work
Now that you’ve successfully let go of the busy day, it’s time to generate energy each hour. When we feel the day has been a blur, it probably has been because we are not taking intentional breaks to let our mind reset, our eyes take a break from screen time and our minds to let go of information it is accumulating at a fast rate.
When we take a break each hour we can first start with the Letting Go Exercise. Then, we can ask ourselves 3 questions before returning to work:
- What energy do I want to bring into this next activity?
- How can I do this next activity with excellence?
- How can I enjoy the process?
This may sound simple, but have you actually seen how it feels when you do this intentionally? Try it sitting in the car before your next transition. You may be surprised to find that you no longer carry over negative energy when you take one minute to let go and reset.
Simple Daily Steps to Stop Burnout from a Busy Day at Work
Apply what you’ve learned here. Help the cycle and set a timer if you don’t remember to take a break each hour. Remember, you are in control of your TIME and your feelings at work. Be the master of your life and your life will feel less stressful.