You write proposals. I write proposals. We write SO many proposals. And some days it's hard to muster the inspiration and focus we need to make writing magic flow.
Today, I'm sharing my top five strategies for beating burnout when you're on deadline, all of which will take five minutes or less to complete.
Stop what you are doing and find a quiet place. I don't care if it's the break room, a supply closet or even a bathroom stall, just find a place where you can have a few moments to focus. Now close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Then spend five minutes doing any of the stretches you find here, here or here. These will relax you AND get more cerebral spinal fluid and blood flowing to those precious neurons of yours, all of which act to nourish the brain and clear out the bad stuff.
2. EAT A SNACK
Brain food is a real thing. If your brain doesn't have the energy it needs to function at its peak, your writing and attention will suffer. Take five minutes to get a snack that has a nice balance of macronutrients (read carbohydrates, proteins and fats). Try an apple with nut butter, trail mix of dried fruit and nuts, or carrots dipped in salad dressing. Avoid snacks with too much added sugar and sodium, as they can derail your productivity later on.
For real. Coloring - like what you did as a child on the regular - is nearly as effective at reducing stress and anxiety as meditation. PLUS, you can do it at your desk anytime without bothering anyone. A quick Google search will yield printable coloring book pages boasting everything from fractals to floral designs. Keep them on hand for when you're having that kind of day.
4. ROCK OUT
I don't know about you, but listening to upbeat music gets me amped (pun intended). Sometimes it is exactly the oomph I need to push through a productivity lull. Personally, I'm not able to listen to music with words while I'm writing, but whatever fits your fancy will do. I use Soundcloud to build playlists that include artists like Lindsay Stirling, Zoe Keating and Cristobal Tapia de Veer.
5. GET A NATURE FIX
Sounds weird, I know, but behavioral scientists have discovered that images of nature are restorative, soothing and healing. Looking out a window at a nature scene for as little as five minutes can help you reset and relax, allowing you to feel mentally refreshed before jumping back into the fray. Don't have access to a window or have a view of a parking lot? No worries, even looking at pictures of nature on your computer screen will have positive effects. Try flipping through nature images on Tumblr, Pinterest or the search engine of your choosing.
These five strategies not only help me to focus and get into the writing groove, but everyone on our team practices them. Try them, use them and learn which ones work best for you.
Have other strategies to suggest? We want to hear 'em! Productivity is gold, and we are greedy, greedy little leprechauns.