Galvin and Associates

Running on Empty



I’m at the end of a 10-week marathon of traveling and training. I’ve only had a couple days off during these 10 weeks and I’m feeling a deep, inner tiredness. I’ve been running on empty. (I know…this is not a good thing.)

Perhaps you feel tired too. This depletion or inner exhaustion can sneak up on you. It’s like when the battery on your cell phone doesn’t have much juice left. The phone still works fine, but the green battery icon has turned to amber. The phone keeps working fine until it suddenly shuts down. When we’re feeling depleted, we need to find a way to get recharged to reduce the risk of burnout. If you sense that you are running on empty, here are four ways to recharge.

Daily breaks
Research on personal productivity is pretty clear that we work better in spurts than we do over long periods of time. We’re better off if our workday is a series of sprints rather than one long jog. Set up your day with 90-120 work segments punctuated with clean breaks. Step away from your desk, go outside, or find some refreshments. Use your breaks to recharge.

Nightly sleep
Some people can get by with very little sleep, but not me. I need a full eight hours of sleep each night or I start accumulating a sleep debt. How much sleep does your body need and what adjustments can you make to your schedule to make sure you get that rest each night?

Weekly Sabbath
A Sabbath rest is a time to completely detach from work and focus more on family, friends, and rest. You are free to take any day of the week and make it your Sabbath day. A few days ago I was able to take a Sabbath day for the first time in 10 weeks. I prefer to follow the traditional Sabbath time of sunset on Friday until nightfall on Saturday. In the Chicago area on this weekend, it means beginning at 8:03 on Friday night until 9:15 on Saturday night. I completely unplug electronically and try to leave the day unscheduled. Which day of the week works best for your Sabbath rest?

Annual vacation
Short or long vacations give us time to unwind, regroup, and gain perspective on how we are living our life. Ironically, the first few days of vacation can feel excruciating. This happens when we become addicted to high-stress routines and electronic connections. Vacations are supposed to reduce stress, but sometimes we plan trips or activities that do not replenish us. What would a truly restful vacation look like for you?

So I’m feeling depleted from this 10-week busy season. I’ve been getting enough sleep but I am a Sabbath breaker and need to repent of that. I’m really feeling the need for personal strategic review to map out the summer. If you are beginning to feel depleted, what one, simple change would help you recharge?

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