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Four Unexpected Tips To Increase Both Productivity And Life Balance

Written by: S. Ryanne Stellingwerf, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Having routines is a great way to maximize productivity. Most highly successful people work with routines and excel by embracing them. But sometimes we get so comfortable in those routines and productivity, that we struggle to get away and recharge. We need to recharge regularly or our habits become blinders that hinder us from seeing opportunities and improved ways of performing. Our productivity will begin to decline and our paths become ruts. Taking a bit of time to recharge allows us to see things from a new perspective, increases our energy and motivation, and gives our creativity room to blossom. Here are four tips to help you get away both for a recharge and for productivity.

1. Working Vacations

When was the last time you took time away from the office to actually get things accomplished? When we need to be creative but have schedules, meetings, phone calls, and disruptions, that can be challenging. One tool to use is to take a working vacation. I see clients weekly, but still need time to write. Working vacations serve to give me that time. If you regularly create blog posts, you may get six months’ worth done on one working vacation. You might get your website fine-tuned, get a portion of a book done, or compose your next album. Changing your environment, getting away from the chores, routines, and daily obligations can give your mind the space it needs to create much more freely than trying to get it done between phone calls

For some, this solution can sound simple, and it is, but have you tried it? Try planning ahead for time away just to be creative. When you do, keep in mind what type of environment will best serve you for that. Do you need a spectacular view out your window? A beautiful porch to sit on while you type? What kind of food will suit you best? Do you want to get away and eat at a restaurant, or do you prefer to get into a zone and have food delivered? Do you prefer a kitchenette to heat up food you make in advance and bring so that there are no interruptions?

If you’ve never taken a working vacation in this way, you may not yet know what does work best for you. That’s okay. Give it a try. Experiment. You will learn and refine with experience.

2. Explore nature

There are studies showing that being in nature is good for us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many of us can get caught up in driving to work, working in a building, hurrying home to prepare dinner, and spending the evening zoning out. Taking a walk in a park, down the road, or just sitting watching the world go by is a great way to renew and refresh. When was the last time you took time to gaze at a tree? Better yet, grow a plant. Watch the birds.

Believe it or not, there is a therapy technique called “earthing.” Very basically, this is the act of taking your shoes off and walking barefoot. When we have to give something so simple as an official name, it seems we as a whole are not doing what we naturally evolved to do.

3. Be a tourist

How often have you taken the time to explore your home town or home state? When I ask my local clients if they’ve ever been to Yellowstone National Park for example, too many of them say “not yet.” Yellowstone National Park is visited by people from all over the world, and these people living only a couple of hours away from it haven’t even ventured to see it! Exploring those tourist attractions in your area can give you a break without you having to take vacation time. Head out for an afternoon, a weekend, or an evening. Take a few hours or days to escape your everyday and enjoy what your state has to offer.

If you just look, ask around, and do a bit of research, you should be able to find different things within a short drive of you or maybe even within walking distance. Explore a museum, enjoy a zip-line, have a picnic in a park, hike some local trails, etc. I have yet to live in a place without tourist attractions even when I’ve lived in small towns. And I have yet to live in a place where the locals spend their time enjoying those tourist attractions. Just because they will be there tomorrow, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy them today. A few hours breaking routine can help clear your mind so you can return with more focus and inspiration.

4. Plan ahead

How many times have you said “I’m going to take a vacation in July,” but here it is September, and you still haven’t taken a vacation this year? Employees frequently have to pre-plan their vacations. They have X number of days per year and they have to get approval in advance. Those who are self-employed or some high achievers, however, can put off their plans and end up skipping vacations entirely. This is where pre-planning comes in. Plan your finances so that you can get paid for that time and schedule your vacations for the year, at the beginning of the year. Make those reservations, let your clients, employees, and “need to know folks” know in advance, and take that time.

If you don’t plan your vacations at the beginning of the year, another effective tool is to take a bit of time at the end of one vacation to plan your next one. This can be quite effective as you are in vacation mode already and might have an easier time committing to another one.

So start now to decide how you are going to get away for balance and productivity. Pre-plan for those larger breaks, be a local tourist for a daybreak, explore nature for a couple of minutes to a couple of hours, and plan a working vacation for those times when you need to get something done, but also need a change of atmosphere. Try any or all of these tips and watch your productivity climb.

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S. Ryanne Stellingwerf, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ryanne Stellingwerf reinvented herself after spending a pivotal seven years working as a contractor on military bases in the Middle East. When she returned home to the US, she became a licensed psychotherapist in Montana specializing in Combat Trauma for military and first responders. She soon had an influx of strong successful professional women requesting her help and learned that the drive and passion in our American heroes is also embodied in our high achievers. But like our heroes, high achievers can also find themselves needing help with stress management as they are driving toward their goals. Ryanne now offers support and guidance to help high-achieving successful women find clarity and balance to make their lives not only sustainable, but fun, passionate, joyful, and ideal.



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