Five ways to achieve more by taking a break

When you give yourself permission to leave it, this is often where the ‘aha’ moment is waiting for you.

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That expression 'busy doing something else' is where your ideas and inspiration often come from. It gives you the sense of being absorbed, concentrating, focused on something, so other thoughts are put aside or take a back seat. It’s something to be encouraged, especially when you’re scratching your head looking for the answer to a tricky issue or ticklish situation. Go off and do – or absorb yourself – in something else!

Sometimes the full-on focus we give to something means we miss some of the subtleties of what’s actually really happening. I hear people saying things like “I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall” or “I can’t stop thinking about ABC” or “I can’t leave it until I’ve sorted it”. Often that’s exactly the problem.

When you give yourself permission to leave it – and I do mean give yourself permission – because it’s an active, energetic decision (rather than a sign of defeat) – by saying “OK, let’s just park this for now, I’m going to go off and do something else” this is often where the ‘aha’ moment is waiting for you.

Waterskiing- I’ve skied for years and love it – the speed, the sensation, the ‘hey I might fall off’ feeling at times (sometimes, a lot of the time).

What I realise though, is how many similarities and insights there are when you compare improving ‘something else’ with building and expanding your business or your career.

Look and see these five quick lessons to learn about business and career success from being ‘busy waterskiing:

  • Keep flexible and relaxed as much as you can. There are forces at work, which you can’t see, and they’ll help you. You don’t have to force it, go with where you’re being pulled. Stay loose.
  • Expect there will be bumps in the water and the current can pull you off course but keep your eyes on the water where you’re going. Stop watching and worrying about the bumps all the time; watch the water where you want to be.
  • Let go when you have to. When you decide to – or have to – sometimes it’s best to just let go, have a face full of water for a moment and then get up again and get back on. Hanging on too tightly doesn’t do much for your style or your peace of mind.
  • Listen to the advice of your mentor/instructor. Other people can often see what you can’t when you’re in action. It might be just a simple tweak and it’s too close to the end of your nose for you to see it. Study and listen for what the experts do and then model it. Make it a style of your own.
  • Rest up and regroup. Remember it’s about the ride too and it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. Take breaks, limber up and enjoy the scenery along the way.

To enjoy the creative ways your mind works when you’re busy doing something else, ask yourself these three quick questions:

  1. What is it that I love to do, that I’m good at and that I know lifts my spirits?
  2. When I’m doing this, what skills do I need to use and what things must I remember to be able to do it?
  3. What lessons are there for me to use and then share with my colleagues, friends or clients, which could help the situation we’re scratching our heads with?

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Kay White

Savvy & Influential Communication for Ambitious Women in Business,