Change Pace

Many people run with their adrenaline system pumping in high gear all day long. This is not healthy. Our bodies are designed to cycle through periods of intensity and periods of recovery. Much like an elastic band; it can be stretched but to retain its effectiveness it needs to return to rest.

If you have been sitting a lot, get up and go for a walk. It will clear your mind and increase your efficiency. If you have been on the road and constantly talking for an extended period, do some desk or other work with less need to talk with others.

Vary your pace throughout the day or over the course of the week. Practice an intensity-recovery cycle. It will allow you to stay at peak performance and not peak adrenaline saturation.

“Most of us live with a sense of time urgency, as well as a sense that we must do something meaningful with our lives. Because life is so short and opportunities are limited, many of us hurry through life at a frantic pace, with little tolerance for anything that blocks our goals or delays our accomplishments. We devote little time to the pursuit of spiritual things, and we chase ourselves to an early grave by ignoring the effect that ‘hurry sickness’ can have on our minds and bodies.”

Dr. Archibald Hart, Adrenaline and Stress

Five Days of Action

Take some time today to think about how you cycle through your week from periods of intensity to periods of recovery. Perhaps draw a time line of your week and plot this cycling pattern. What do you notice? A small change in your intensity-recovery cycle can make a substantial change in the effectiveness with which you do your work.

If you do a lot of sitting, work consciously today on frequently getting up and moving around. Learn and do some simple stretches. Turn your thinking to something else just for a short time. Look at something far away to give the eyes a change. Stand up every 20 minutes and notice how your energy level responds throughout the day.

Think about what ‘quality recovery time’ means to you. What rejuvenation practices do you have now? Think of a few simple ways in which they could be improved. Put those into practice.

Your staff will do better if they learn the strategy of cycling from intensity to rest as well. How can you support this within your organization? Productivity will rise as a result of paying attention to this. Plan for it and take action.

Think about your longer term cycles, over the course of a season or a year. Are there long term patterns that, on reflection, might serve you well? Translate your thoughts into actions on your calendar. Write them down now and act on them in the future.