Getting Things Done – Take a Walk

I know it seems counterproductive to get up and take a walk if you are already feeling behind in your work. But what good is it doing to sit and bang your head against your desk if you can’t get motivated anyways? Physical activity is a great way to remedy mental fatigue and dysfunction!

I posted on Monday about taking a lesson from the students who attend Wisconsin Badgers home football games. Today, I’ll delve more deeply into the reasons we need to take a break.

Have you ever found yourself sitting at your desk, maybe first thing in the morning or right after lunch, and just not feeling functional? Many people call this “can’t get motivated,” but I really think of it as not being able to function correctly. My brain won’t go into gear, I can’t get started on anything, and when I do get started, I can’t keep going.

In my previous life as a workaholic, I could never get myself to do the one thing, during these times, which might help. I felt I should sit at my desk and continue to try to get something done, and often I just sat there, almost literally banging my head against my computer, trying to get something – anything – done.

One of the new things in my life as I deal with my desire to achieve is that when I can’t work, I don’t. Now, I realize this could become a real trap. I could start deciding I “can’t” work any time I would rather do something else. But because I now love my life, and really love my work (as opposed to when I just loved to work), I try to keep it in perspective.

First of all, I know there are times of the day when I’m not very productive. I use those times to run errands or do things that don’t require a lot of mental concentration. I also use those times to get some physical exercise, which helps the mental function. Just getting out and walking or doing some quick exercises in the office helps me so much to get back to work.


And during those times when, for no reason, you just can’t seem to get your work done? Why not lace up your shoes and go out for a walk? I find that time like this is excellent for getting back to work, first because the activity gets my blood pumping and literally helps my brain function better.

Many of us think, “How can I get out and take a walk? Don’t you understand? I have WORK TO DO.” I do understand that. And I know that it seems counterproductive to get up and take a walk when you’re already falling behind in your work.

But part of my vision of a balanced life is a life where I know when I need to work, when I can work, and when I need to get out and do something physical so I can function better mentally.

Of course, sometimes I need downtime. But I’m talking about those times when you need and want to work, but your brain didn’t seem to get the message. Why not get some exercise, get your brain working better, and then come back refreshed?

How can you use physical activity as a remedy for mental fatigue and dysfunction?

  • Find an activity you like to do, whether that’s biking, walking, lifting weights, or whatever.
  • Make sure you have what you need to participate in that activity.
  • The next time you feel you just aren’t getting your work done effectively, engage in some outside activity instead, and come back.

Thanks to My GTD Stuff for including this post in the GTD Digest.

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