Taking time to refocus our priorities more than makes up for the work it seems to take us away from.
I consistently find that the hardest time to work is the day after finishing a big project. It took years to figure this out, and I finally understand why.
Before starting any project at work, I take time to step back and ensure that this is the most important thing I can be doing, and that the project will bring us closer to our vision. Then I zoom in and put my head down to work, focusing on the short-term goal of completing the project well.
After finishing the project, I am so used to pushing towards the one short-term goal, and the movement associated, that it is really hard to shift views; I just want to keep getting more work done.
However, I have found that the most valuable thing I can do is to stop and take a break, even if it is half a day to celebrate the win, and to slow the pace. It feels unproductive and is hard to do, but it sets me up for success long term.
After coming back refreshed, I look at where we are now, what has changed since starting the project, and then choose what to work on next; often smaller tasks that have been neglected during the project push, knowing that this is the right thing to be doing.
I know not all of us have the luxury of stopping work, but even taking time to do some light administrative tasks (along with a few trips to the coffee shop) can be enough of a break.
As I have said before, ‘not all work is equal’. Let’s make sure we are working on things that move us in the right direction.
Closed for now ... something new coming soon(ish).