This post about burnout and how to prevent it with exercise has been floating around in my head for some months now. Ever since I watch this interview of Tim Ferriss by Marie Forleo.
You might know Tim Ferriss as the author of The 4 Hour Workweek, Tribe of Mentors, and others. During this interview, Tim went through his writing process for us and one of the things he said was that he picks up a kettlebell and does some swings every day. In his list of 5-morning rituals, which you can get on his page, he mentions 5-10 reps of ANYTHING to get you started on your day.
These two things got me thinking. This isn’t a full exercise routine he’s talking about, but it is a moment that you take to get physical, to get into your brain, to increase your heart rate, and to focus.
Is this small trick exactly what we are missing when it comes to avoiding burnout and maintaining productivity?
I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be. Your ability to focus, as a whole, has dropped majorly since your smartphone became a permanent feature in your life. It’s not your fault. Science says that when we are focused on a task and we are interrupted, it takes us OVER 20 minutes to return fully to the task at hand.
How often are you interrupted? Count every red circle, every text beep, every phone call, every email notification, every IG bing. I mean, it’s a wonder you get anything done at all. Focus takes practise and you aren’t practicing anymore because you are in a state of near-constant distraction. Being in this state leads to more mistakes and more re-do’s, thus taking even more time. This sets you behind on your schedule, overwhelms you and causes you to work more hours than necessary. All of those things combine to leave you with the specific brand of low-level chronic stress that is responsible for burnout.
So, what do kettlebells have to do with it?
Kettlebells or push-ups, the movement you choose is not important… BUT. Creating time during your day when you are focused on ONE physical thing instead of one mental thing does a couple of things.
- It retrains your brain to be able to focus
- It gives you a much needed self-imposed break from computer work
- It increases your heart rate and oxygen intake which clarifies your thinking
- When you finish you can decide on the next task with a new sense of stick-to-it-ness
- Feeling physically stronger lends to feeling mentally stronger as well
Aside from your exercise routine, adding in a couple of reps of kettlebells, push-ups, or core work during the day might be JUST the thing you need to keep you on track, keep you productive, and help you avoid the business-killing burnout.
Burnout happens differently in everyone. The commonality of it these days is amazing. You are overstimulated, overtired and your body is taking notice. It’s time to be proactive and get ahead of it. You’ve got this!
And if you are looking for some guidance in your own self-care journey, I would be happy to walk with you through it. My details are below!