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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Change It Up

I am finding a new approach to my daily work and home schedule that seems to be working for me fairly well. Of course, old habits are hard to break. But this change for me has made enough of a difference that I'm implementing it into all working aspects of my life.

I have a tendency to stay at a task for long periods of time; I get immersed and don't realize how much time has gone by. This can make for uncomfortable issues with posture, resulting in fatigue and reduction in attention span and mindfulness.

So I decided to change it up.

Instead of sitting for an hour or two working on one project at a time, I'm sitting for fifteen or twenty minutes and then get up to do something else.

For example, if I'm busy posting links for #JournalChat Links Edition, I take a break for a bit. I may work on some collage elements. Or add more to my current watercolor project.

Or I may just get a bite to eat and stretch or take a walk.

What's interesting about changing it up is not only are you getting the benefits of giving your body a physical break, you also get the mental recharge you need to stay mindful to your task.

I pay more attention to what I'm reading because I'm more alert and aware. Which makes the reading more pleasurable.

Actually this approach makes most things I do more meaningful and pleasurable because I am more mindful.

So when I take a break from one task to work on something else, my mind keeps working. But not in a cluttered way. It gives my subconscious mind a chance to ruminate on the things I am absorbing and learning and helps me assimilate the information better.

Plus, when I change it up, I have more energy to put out in connecting with my friends, readers, subscribers, and fellow writers, artists, and journal writers.

I also notice I get more work done overall. It may take a bit longer, but what I do has a higher quality. And I enjoy the process so much more.

When I give myself a break between tasks, this new approach gives me a fresh perspective and a lighter, more buoyant feeling.

Plus I have more time to chat with my husband and daughters and spend time with my grand-boy.

When you incorporate a change into your work habits or routine that makes enough of an impact to cause you to have more pleasure, more energy, and a higher quality of life, you know you've hit on something good.

So the next time you find yourself getting fatigued from working on a single task too long, give yourself a break. Change it up. Do something that gives you joy and more energy. And when you come back to that initial task, you'll have a clearer, more productive mindset, which can only enhance the quality of your work and your life.

Oh, and don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. You Deserve It.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

7 comments:

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

excellent advice Dawn. I remember when I used to work in an office they used to tell us to get up and walk away from the computer every 15 minutes. This is something that I definitely need to start instituting. Thanks for the reminder!

Ty Unglebower said...

I do similar things when I am working on something.

Dawn Herring said...

Glad it resonated with you, Caren. Yes, it is common, especially in an office environment, to take breaks. It can really work in any situation!

Ty, yes, glad to hear it works for you too. It really does make a difference!

Be refreshed,
Dawn

Valerie Storey said...

This is such a great idea, Dawn. It's actually very timely as my new writing schedule for 2012 is to work in 30 minute increments, so it's good to discover I'm on the right track. I also find the short timeframe aids with productivity, i.e., "Write fast--you've only got 30 mins.!" Happy Valentine's Day!

QuinnCreative said...

Love this idea, Dawn. While I love concentrated work on one job, the change up seems to keep the ideas flowing more smoothly. Great tip!

Marty C #1 Nana said...

I was looking for information on how to write journal entries for a class when I came across this site. It is great. I needed the advice about changing up, I am a grandmother who is also a full time college student. In an effort to keep ahead of the game, I study for hours without changing up, and get fatigued. Thanks

Dawn Herring said...

Valerie,
I love it when something I read resonates with what I'm doing right now; so glad this post worked that way for you. :)

Quinn,
I know what you mean about concentrated work; I don't change it up for everything, just for stuff I know has no direct negative consequence. It's great to know the difference. Thanks for your comment.

Marty's Nana,
So glad this was timely info for you. You can find more journaling info at my @JournalChat account on Twitter and my website, www.dawnherring.net.

Thanks all for your comments!
Be refreshed,
Dawn

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Three Steps Toward Accountability...to Yourself (as published in SFC Newsletter, Dec 08 edition)

Accountability: to give a reckoning or explanation for one’s actions, responsible.

When most people think of accountability, they often negatively associate it with answering to others, such as a spouse, a friend, a mentor, or, in most cases, a boss. As a writer, you are your own boss, which is one of the reasons that you need to be accountable to yourself. And it can be a positive experience rather than a negative one.

The first step in being accountable to yourself as a writer is setting goals for your writing and keeping track of projects you want to finish. Incurring a deadline for yourself can help
motivate you in this area. This step can also include daily writing goals. Some authors plan how many words or pages per day they will write.
I’ve set goals for myself as a writer by making them reachable and attainable. This year I have set a goal to write at least one scene for my novel per week and at least one other piece,
whether it be memoir or essay, per week. That can mean just making notes, writing a first draft, or revising a draft.
As long as your goals keep you moving forward and you’re making progress, then you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Once you have your goals set, the next step in accountability to yourself is writing down what you accomplish each day. You can use a daily calendar just for writing or keep track of your
daily accomplishments on your computer. I designed a custom monthly writing calendar. It helps me track what I write daily, whether or not I’ve met my goal for the week, and it has
space for ideas for future writing pieces. I also have a spot to keep track of books I’m reading for that month. I use abbreviations to keep the daily writing easier and to save space. As I review each completed month, I can go back to see what I’ve accomplished and keep track of when I wrote each piece.
Whether you use something pre-made or customize something for yourself, use whatever works for you and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

A third, and perhaps most important, aspect in accountability in your writing is taking care of yourself as a writer. Than can mean giving yourself space and not being hard on yourself if
you don’t reach your goals each day or each week.
Flexibility and refreshment are paramount to your health as a writer. It also frees up your creativity and can actually help you produce more quality writing in the long run.
I enjoy writing in my journal, reading fiction or memoir, and watching a good movie with my family. Taking a walk, listening to music, talking with your family members, and just taking time to sit and enjoy life are all ways you can be good to
yourself—and ultimately accountable—as a writer.

Learn to celebrate your accomplishments and your uniqueness as a writer. That’s one of the best ways to be accountable—to yourself!