Michael Jordan was one of the best basketball players to ever play the game. (My fellow Chicagoans are up in arms right now because I didn't say that he was definitively THE best to ever play the game.) He famously played one game of the NBA finals with flu symptoms so bad he was literally staggering around the court. Yet, he still led the Chicago Bulls to victory, scoring 38 points and sinking the game-clinching basket.
Everyone needs rest. Even God rested on the seventh day. (Okay, so maybe he didn't NEED rest, but he was setting a good example for the rest of us!)
In an office environment, few if any workers are able to focus for a full eight hour day. In fact, a growing consensus of experts have said that the longer we try to focus, the worse we are at it. So, here are five ways to "hit refresh," to regain your energy and concentration at work.
1. Stand up.
Simply the act of getting up out of your office chair and standing can help get your blood moving and your brain to see things from a different perspective. I try to stand while talking on the phone, during webinars or conference calls, and even during some face-to-face meetings. Changing position by standing up when engaged in problem-solving often helps me shift my thinking.
2. Go ask a question.
Even better for refocusing than standing, is taking a walk across the office or down the hall to ask someone a question or get their input on a project. Not only do you get the advantages of body movement, blood flow, and a change of scenery, but the interpersonal interaction can give you a small emotional boost as well. You don't need to talk with them for an hour either. A quick, three minute conversation can re-calibrate your energy reserves.
3. Close your door.
In order to avoid hundreds of nasty emails from my introverted friends, let me also suggest that withdrawing can also help you recharge. If contact with another human being right now feels like the last thing you want to do, take five minutes to be alone. If you work in cubicle-ville and don't have a door, sneak away to an empty conference room, unused office, stairway, or even the bathroom -- anywhere you can get a few minutes of "me" time away from other people's needs.
4. Go to your grateful place.
While sitting in your chair, lean back, close your eyes, slow your breathing, and remember a time when you felt especially grateful, loved, or joyful. Remember the emotions, what you saw, heard, smelled, thought. Our brains often respond to imagined stimuli similarly to physical stimuli. Engaging in the act of remembering a joyful event can cause your brain to release chemicals that will raise your mood and increase your energy.
5. Tell a joke.
Laughing is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Take a few minutes to tell someone a joke, or better yet, ask them to tell you one. Laughter stimulates the happy chemicals in the brain, is good for your cardiovascular system, and forces your brain to operate in a different manner for even just a few minutes. All of these factors add up to a small shot in the arm.
So, five simply ways to "hit refresh" at work. Try one each day of the next week and let me know how it goes. Which one is your favorite? What other ways do you reinvigorate yourself?