Why you’d benefit from a break today

Tomorrow I head away on holiday for a few days.

That means I woke up today with the familiar pre-holiday feeling of ‘way too much to do’!

So I did what any efficient, effective person would do: I wrote down my to-do list then circled the top three.

Then I got out my water colours, and painted for a couple of hours…

It might not be the obvious way to get it all done, but the to do list doesn’t feel that important anymore. I feel recharged and ready to focus on my top three things. I feel ready to power through them with a clear head and a happy heart 🙂

.. and then go for a run.

It brings to mind the wonderful zen saying: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour”.

If you don’t have five minutes to relax, take 20. Pause now. Go do something you love doing.

I recently listened to a Peter Bregman Leadership Podcast interview  with Marilyn Paul, author of An Oasis in Time, and It’s Hard to Make a Difference When you Can’t Find Your Keys.

She writes about the challenge we all face of increasing demands and growing to-do lists.

She says the solution isn’t trying to do more, but to stop. Stop and reset, then get going with new perspective, creativity and energy.

That sounds good to me.

Whether we liked it or not, we all used to have an oasis in our weeks. Remember Sundays when all the shops, restaurants and bars were closed? When there was nothing to watch on TV and we didn’t have cellphones, text messages, emails, Facebook? We switched off, rested, relaxed.

Marilyn Paul’s challenge to us is to recreate that oasis of calm for ourselves each day or each week.

It could be five minutes, an hour, half a day, a day. Just rest, relax, recharge. And come back stronger.

One thing I know is that my next two months are going to be some sort of mayhem.

I have two months to create and launch a website and a social enterprise, set up a company and a charitable trust, get my head around business management and accounting, fundraise, spend time with charities and other stakeholders, and develop and execute a marketing plan. It’s a big to-do list.

So I’m going to make time every day to stop. I will keep taking at least an hour a day for yoga and meditation, an hour for exercise, and another hour to do something creative and/or fun.

I’m also going to switch off from everything for at least half a day every Saturday or Sunday. Maybe even both!

And first of all, I’m going to go on holiday, forget about the to-do list, and just chill out and have fun for a few days.

I reckon that is the perfect place to end today’s blog …  I’ve got some relaxing to do 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful and relaxing week too,



  • Writing this post reminded me of this HBR article  by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz on The Making of the Corporate Athlete. Just like top athletes, we all need to oscillate between periods of effort and recovery to reach, and to sustain, our peak performance – whatever we are doing.  Loehr and Schwartz say that the real enemy of high performance is not stress, but the absence of disciplined, intermittent recovery. That’s worth sitting down to think about 🙂



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