I feel like brain never stops thinking. I constantly have ideas, things I want to implement, landing pages I want to improve, videos I want to make, and so on. It seriously is non-stop. And it’s been that way for a few years now.
Chances are, you can relate. Once I read my first self-help book, then the next, I started ordering more books while reading 3 simultaneously. I became a fiend for growth and learning.
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I subscribed to a dozen podcasts and started drowning myself in information that I found so interesting and relatable.
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I was grabbing coffee a week before this trip with a new friend I made in Houston. He explained this same phenomenon and told me that he is a “filler.” What he meant by this is that he constantly fills free time with productive things.
I resonated with that so deeply! It’s legitimately difficult for me to just sit down and enjoy a TV show. I always feel like there’s something productive I could be working on simultaneously, like jotting notes down for my next podcast.
I’ve realized this is a bit extreme, so I’ve started to make time to take a step back, disconnect, and relax a little bit every now and then.
Stop and smell the roses
We’ve all heard the phrase “stop and smell the roses.” But really. We need to stop and enjoy the little things in life instead of constantly trying to be productive or do the next thing.
Life is a journey, not a destination. If we don’t pay attention, we could miss it.
In Brendon Burchard’s book, High Performance Habits, Brendon mentions that we should set a timer for 45 minutes or so. Once our butts hit a chair, we should set a timer.
Once it goes off, we should walk around, stretch, get some water, etc. for 5 minutes.
This helps us reset. Brendon also says we should take a few deep breaths. Inhale intention; exhale tension.
Use this as a time to release any stress, reset, and make sure that the next activity you’re about to work on is the right one.
So many people come at life from a reactive approach. They open up their emails immediately in the morning and then start responding to every “urgent” email or “emergency.”
This can result in you spending an entire day fighting fires that weren’t really even important. This happened in my corporate job basically all the time and it was so frustrating.
Now, when I set these timers and take breaks, I can calm down. If I’m stressing about something or not being as productive as I want to be on a certain task, I have a chance to reflect on what’s working, and what I should try to do on the next task.
Calm the mind through meditation
While taking breaks throughout the day and reflecting on how everything is going is helpful, sometimes it helps to straight up meditate.
I never used to meditate before. And I’m still not a super intense meditator. But I can see the value and power of just emptying your mind of everything.
Sometimes I get a workout in during lunch time to break up the day, escape from working and answering emails for a bit, and get some alone time.
If I’ve already gotten a good few workouts in that week, I’ll still go to the gym, but in the exercise room, I’ll go and do a guided meditation on YouTube for 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re a beginner, I suggest taking this route.
It can be challenging keeping your mind clear of distractions and worry if you are just listening to meditation music alone. When you have someone telling you what to think about and focus on, it can definitely help.
I have found that after meditating, I feel renewed and refreshed. I am ready to conquer the second half of the day and even take on challenges I may have been avoiding in the morning.
So really. Just try it. Experiment with a few different videos and speakers and find a few that you enjoy. Eventually, you can ease off the guided ones and just do your own thing, focusing on letting go of stress, tension, and negative energy.
Let go of things you can’t control
Entrepreneurs and hard workers in general love control. They want to be steering the ship at all times.
Sometimes, however, there are things that are legitimately outside of our control. Things like the economy tanking or terror attacks or anything like that are difficult to influence on an individual level. We can’t try to play the superhero and take on all that stress and responsibility.
There’s a lot of things that are kind of outside of our control. We can all do our little part to try to improve the world. Like recycling, or donating time or money to help the homeless, and all that good stuff. But bad things unfortunately will still happen in the world from time to time.
Tragedies, like it or not, will affect us all at some point or another. Life is beautiful with endless opportunities, but if we are honest, we obviously know it comes with an expiration date for all of us.
It’s important to “let go” of things we have no control over. But there’s a fine line here. Don’t go playing the victim saying you can’t change something. As individuals, we absolutely have the power to make a difference and to matter in this world.
But you know what I mean. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t stress about every little thing in life.
Do what you can and remain calm throughout
At the end of the day, do whatever you can do control your life and positively change things on all fronts.
But remain calm throughout everything, even through the bumpy roller coaster drops that we don’t see coming.
The way we can handle whatever life throws at us is by staying rational. Before we emotionally react to something immediately, we can take a step back, take a few deep breaths, and even meditate.
This will let us approach the situation reasonably and logically instead of throwing gasoline on a fire by going purely off of emotions.
Some of us are more emotional than others, and emotions make us human. We can’t all be 99% logic like Spock from Star Trek. So I get it. Cry it out when you lose someone or a pet. But appreciate the good times, and don’t let the tough times hold you down for too long.
Take some time to reset and refocus several times a day. If you are a “filler” and fill up all your blank calendar space with productive things, remember to plan for some breaks and relaxation time in there as well.
Hustle is great but burnout is not.
Remember that we can’t control 100% all the time. Life will throw some curveballs our way. The best way to handle that is to take time to reflect, meditate, and then react logically instead of letting emotions drive.
High emotions in tough situations combined with quick, sporadic actions can lead to us saying or doing things that we later regret.
Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Ask yourself the question “Am I a filler?” If not, great! But if you are, make sure to fill some time for breaks.
Consider setting a timer for a certain length of time (I do 45 minutes) and then stretching, walking around, getting water, for a few minutes.
Inhale intention, exhale tension.
If you still haven’t tried meditating, try it today. Even if it’s just 5 minutes in your car before you go back to work from lunch, or 5 minutes in the morning. It seriously makes a difference and forces you to slow things down.
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