Relaxing Focus

As some of you may or may not know, I tend to be a productive person. I always have a lot to do, and I get a lot done.

One of my life issues, as it were, is finding that work/life balance. I’m fortunate, I work for myself. That is also unfortunate, because I’m a bitch when it comes to working – i.e., I work all the damned time and feel guilty when I take time off.

I’ve had the unusual experience recently of feeling as though I’m approaching burnout. I’ve experienced burnout before. However, generally I don’t realize that I need time off until it’s too late and I can’t do anything more, I’m already crispy around the edges.

This time, I’m actually seeing it approach. I know that I need to do something in the short term if I don’t want to pass that burnout point and get all crispy fried and be unable to work for a few days.

So I’ve been thinking about what I can change so that I don’t pass that point. I’ve also been looking at what I do, at my processes, and what I can change.

I realize that I have a lot on my plate. Some of it may be sliding off because I just can’t handle one more thing. I’m not convinced, however, that I have completely overloaded myself. I still think I can do all the things.

In addition, I’ve taken time off recently. I’ve taken days off from writing. I haven’t done business stuff every day. The new productivity planner has been great that way, because I list what I have to do a week at a time, instead of daily lists.

I honestly believe it isn’t a question of hours in the day. For the most part, I have the hours.

It’s a question of mental focus.

Once I phrased it that way, how I was feeling made more sense.

I’ve been trying to get in 10K steps every day. And succeeding for the most part. In addition, I’m being more careful about what I eat. I would like to lose some of the weight I gained last year.

But both of those take mental energy. Focus.

So it hasn’t been because I’ve added too many things to my plate. It’s because I only have so much focus in any given day. Hence the feeing that I’m going to burn out, because I’ve been too focused.

How do I relax that mental focus? Give my brain a break?

I’m still figuring this one out. There are a couple of things that I’m trying.

One – I read an article recently about training that is given to Air Force personnel that teaches them how to fall asleep every night within two minutes. It’s a basic relaxation technique, starting at your face and working your way down your body.

Now, I’ve done a similar technique for years. However, I’ve always started with my toes. Reversing it has proven to be really effective for me. I’m not falling asleep in two minutes. For the last week, every time I’ve woken in the middle of the night I have been able to fall back asleep fairly quickly. I count that as a win.

The article said it takes about six weeks of training to use the technique effectively. I’m going to give it a shot. See what happens if I use the technique every night for six weeks.

Two – I play silly bubble games on my phone. I do NOT play games that have a timer – those are not relaxing. Just bursting bubbles or drawing squares, what have you.

For a couple of days this week, instead of playing games on my phone while I ate my lunch, I’ve watched the birds instead. It’s made me realize that the games require a mental focus, even though it’s a game. I need to completely relax that focus during the day.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’m going to try one of those meditation apps on my phone that I can listen to while I’m eating. Or maybe listen to a podcast. Something that is soothing and in the background and doesn’t require that I focus.

What do you do that allows you to lose mental focus for a while? I don’t watch TV necessarily. When I do watch TV, I’m always doing something else, so that isn’t an answer.

Hope you’re looking forward to a marvelous weekend!

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