25 Feb 2014

Take the time to pound the pavement

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Every professional needs advice, right? We all work so hard all day long and the idea of walking away from our desks—or God forbid, our smartphones—even to go to the kitchen to grab lunch can be overwhelming. I definitely fall into that category. If I need to get something done, I don’t hesitate to get up at 3:00 a.m. just to make sure it happens. However, that really doesn’t work well for my sanity, family and my poor coworkers who know that if I am sending them an email at 3:00 a.m., it will not be a fun day at work!

But, for me, I need to be on my A-game every moment, right? Whether I’m dotting I’s in a proposal, explaining a client’s feedback to creative, browser testing a website or jumping on a client call, there is no room for assumptions or errors.

As a very Type A/Black and White account planner, I have found my escape. I need to force myself to step away from my desk and recharge my body and brain. To do this, I replace my heels with my running sneakers and pound the pavement outside or hit the treadmill at the local gym next door. Stepping away from my desk is the most difficult thing to do, but when it comes to my sanity, it is the most important!

This allows me to breathe, let everything go and come back more focused and ready to get the job done! It keeps me at my best and my work at its best.

Even the New York Times is on board.

“Mental concentration is similar to a muscle," says John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management. "It becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover," he explains, "— much as a weight lifter needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions at the gym.”


So, be sure to step away and take a break. Don’t shove your lunch down your throat while sitting behind your desk. Find what works for you. Get your body moving or go have lunch with a friend. Your work and sanity will both be better for it.