Owning and operating a business is not easy. This isn’t breaking news, but bear with me. We’ll get to the Legos in a minute. (Yes, really). Your schedule is likely jam-packed with meetings, phone calls and other tasks necessary to keep your business on track. But here’s the thing. You know that adage “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Turns out it’s not dull as in boring; it’s dull as in lifeless, unfocused, stressed, fatigued and unproductive.
While having lunch “al desko” might be necessary on occasion, carving out the time to decompress every day is the secret to maximizing productivity.
I’ve learned that lesson many times during my career, choosing to “power through” even though I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly. But several years ago, something changed. That something is Daisy, and she’s a rescue dog. I adopted her through petfinder.com and now one of the most creative parts of my day is when I break to take Daisy for a walk through the nearby woods or around the local reservoir.
For that one hour, I’m not only charmed by her spirit and adorable demeanor, but that time away from the phone and the computer leaves me recharged, ready to tackle the next wave of challenges.
This, of course, made me curious about what other CEOs and owners do to decompress during their days. What I found was fascinating, and maybe some of these ideas will connect with you.
Mark Casady, chairman and CEO at LPL Financial, walks the two miles to and from work. ”In that couple of miles, you’re going to be walking for 30-40 minutes depending on how slow you are, and that’s a really good time. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing, but your mind can wander at the same time. For me, that’s the best decompression moment by far.” (Source)
Dave Lavinsky, founder of Guiding Metrics, keeps an exercise mat in his office. Three times a day he closes the door for just a few minutes and does pushups and sit-ups. “This keeps my blood flowing and my energy levels high throughout the day so I accomplish a lot more.” (Source)
Arianna Huffington, now famously, takes naps. In fact, she went one step further and actually created nap rooms at The Huffington Post. “Ultimately, at work, the most important thing is our energy,” she says in an interview with Business Insider. “It’s not exactly how many hours we are sitting at our desks, but how present are we when we’re there.” (Source)
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, simply carves out time to think. It helps him decide where to invest his energies, and to engage in sound, clearheaded decision-making. “You’re not only thinking strategically, thinking proactively, thinking longer-term, but you’re literally thinking about what is urgent versus important, and trying to strike that right balance.”
Steve Cooper, editor-in-chief of Hitched Magazine, runs during his lunch break, every day. “The sweat, the fatigue, the endorphin rush all give me a boost in the afternoon and into the evening… It sounds counterintuitive, but after my runs I have more energy for the rest of the day and my mind is again sharp and ready to tackle any task.” (Source)
Amber Case, co-founder of Geoloqi, plays with Legos. “Legos are a great relief from the theoretical world of computers. It feels great to do something tangible with one’s hands, and it’s a great way to collaborate with others, too,” Case says. “When everyone is doing something with their hands, different kinds of discussions emerge than when a bunch of people are in a room together with laptops and phones distracting them.” (Source)
Whether it’s spending time with our furry best friends, a heart-pumping workout or just some quiet time alone, a mid-day break can refuel and refocus you and your team.
How do you decompress during the day? Tell us in the comments or join us online @ECHOtapeBrands