5 ways to maximise your work by letting things breathe

When a door closes, a window always opens. But only if you open it. Right?

Not always. Sometimes you've already put the effort in, so take a step back and give the window the space to open.

Some things take time and it's important to allow your efforts to incubate. This is really hard to do when you've been running hard.

I am a big believer in taking control of your own destiny and being active in your market, meeting new people, building relationships, sharing ideas. However, it's also important to recognise when you need to let your actions breathe.

Another way of using your 'breathing time' is to clear the monkeys off your back. This is not about wading through emails. Focus on those jobs you haven't got to yet, but are weighing on your mind.

You might want to update a strategy you wrote at the start of the year, start a book or blog to capture your IP, read up on an emerging trend in your industry or do the things you had earmarked for January, but as the year started with a bang, you haven't got to them yet.

You will find doing this clears your head in a remarkable way and allows you to be ready for the next wave of action, which is rarely far away.

As it can be really tough to do this, here are five ways that might help you maximise your breathing time:

  1. Schedule it into your diary
    Many leaders and executives schedule thinking time into their diaries and keep that time intentionally free to let their minds wander as it allows them to come up with some of their best ideas.

    Kick off the process by breathing in to the count of five and out for the count of five. It takes just one minute and will help clear your head.

  2. Re-write your wish list
    In Australia we have just had the last of our major public holidays, save the Queen's Birthday in June, for quite a few months. Moving into the second half of the year, the pace of life tends to pick up considerably.

    With that comes stress, the spinning of many plates as you juggle your various priorities and limited time to think through your ideas and innovate.

    Write down what you want to achieve before the end of the year and see how much of it you can do now.

  3. Leave the office
    I'm a big advocate of getting outdoors and going for a run or walk when I need to think something through. I find this helps the ideas flow quicker and also sorts the keepers from the rubbish.

  4. Reconnect with people in your network
    Pick up the phone - not email - and call someone who inspires or challenges you and gives you a different perspective on life.

    They may just help you embrace some changes you are facing and as a result leave you feeling a bit more optimistic about your future.

  5. Learn
    Be curious again. Seek out opportunities to learn as this will help you lean into life and reignite the passion for your work.

You know when you've done groundwork needed to set things up. Sometimes we all just need a little reminder that not everyone is operating on our schedule.

Time is a luxury. Make the most of it.

Nina