Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

5 Ways to Stay Sane When You Have to Slog Through

ARCHIVES
Gajus/Shutterstock.com

From the archives of the Department of Irony, I found myself overwhelmed this past week while working on a book whose title is Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative.

I was at the point in the process where I had to read through about 400 pages of interview excerpts and sort them into working files for each of the 19 chapters of the book. It was about three days straight of reading, thinking, copying and pasting. As passionate as I am about the topic and the project, I have to confess. It. Was. A. Slog.

No doubt, you’ve had episodes like this and probably will again. It’s that important step in the project that can’t really be delegated or outsourced because it requires your judgment and perspective throughout. And it’s going to be several solid days of work.

So, how do you stay sane when you have to slog through? Here are five ways to do it that worked for me last week:

  1. Stretching: Lots of stretching. When you’re working at a desk all day, you absolutely must get up and stretch every 60 to 90 minutes. Your shoulders, back and hips need it and so does your brain. If you’re looking for a good five-minute routine you can do by your desk, here’s one.
  2. Walking: Preferably outside, but indoors is fine if the weather’s not cooperating. A 15-minute walk twice a day is a great way to refocus and reenergize.
  3. Napping: Nothing is worse than trying to get through mentally taxing work when you’re sleepy. It takes three times as long to get things done and the quality of what you do finish is probably five times worse. I had a day like that last week. I fought it and couldn’t overcome it so I took a 30-minute nap. My productivity when I got back to the desk was off the charts. More and more offices are designating nap rooms. If yours doesn’t have one, you might try your car.
  4. Talking: When you’re in the midst of a slog, a short conversation with a colleague or friend (they don’t have to be mutually exclusive by the way) can be a great way to sustain your sanity.
  5. Checking: To keep myself from getting distracted during last week’s work, I shut my email down with the intention of checking it once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon. I was surprised to find that 10 to 15 minutes of focused email maintenance was a great break from my main work objectives.

So, there you have it. Five ways to stay sane when you have to slog through. I don’t recommend using them all at once or you won’t get anything done. But, like so many other things, when used in moderation they can really help.

What are your favorite ways to stay sane when you have to slog through?

(Image via Gajus/Shutterstock.com)

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.