Relax and survive: get more out of work - and life

David Taylor

Inside track

In your final moments on this earth, how many of you will look back on your lives and say, "I really...

David Taylor

Inside track

In your final moments on this earth, how many of you will look back on your lives and say, "I really wish I'd spent more time in the office"?

As we juggle meetings, phones and endless paper, it is easy to forget we are human beings, not human doings. The great irony here is that we would actually be far more effective if we took some time for ourselves. Everyone knows it, many now write about it, but few put it into practice. The way to take command of your life, to achieve your best on a consistent basis is to relax, and recharge.

Technology was meant to make our lives so much easier. It was supposed to simplify the way things are done, to eliminate paper and to free up time. It has done the exact opposite - accelerating the pace, pressure and complexity of life.

Stress is one of the biggest issues facing IT leaders in 2000. From a director's point of view, it is disturbing. From a personal point of view, it is damaging. Stress has an antidote - relaxation.

The most powerful, proven and positive way to reduce stress and recharge your energy, is to take some time out for yourself.

The most powerful, immediate and effective method of relaxation is:

  • allocate 20 minutes every day (just two-thirds of an episode of EastEnders)

  • find a peaceful place, sit quietly, and upright

  • pay attention to your breath - only to your breath

  • each time you notice a thought, allow your attention to return to the breath.

    Try this, with any variations - find out what works for you. Keep it up for 21 days, and you will feel very different. Over time you will condition yourself to be able to relax more easily.

    In a short period, you will find yourself with more energy throughout the whole day, enabling you to spend so called "premium time" with your family, not just at work.

    When we relax we do not enter a new world, we merely access a world that has been long buried.

    Above all, remember it is OK to spend time alone, you are allowed to be at ease, and at one with yourself.

    David Taylor is president of the association of IT directors, Certus. His collected columns, David Taylor's Inside Track, is out now, published in Butterworth-Heinemann's Computer Weekly series.

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