Breakfast Epiphanies

By admin / November 17, 2009
By: Chris Murray
Category: Stress Management

"Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?" Holly Golightly

There are times when it feels like getting to work was the biggest achievement of the day!

A half eaten breakfast, a stressful drive through rush hour traffic, the radio blocking out any chance of serious thought; dashing into the office apologising for being a few minutes late, grabbing a drink, sipping at it as you rush by, telling everyone you can't stop; collapsing at your desk, turning on your computer and then for some reason, achieving virtually nothing for the rest of the day.

You remind yourself that the only time your desk is ever clear, is just before you take a summer holiday (it doesn't have to be clear in the winter break because everyone else is off as well, so no one will discover the stuff you didn't do!)

Why can't you have that much energy all the time?
There must be something more than a sudden sense of fear that enables us to get 'ahead of the game' before a break, so what is it?

The answer my friend is organised thought.

Before you go on holiday you imagine a list of everything that could possibly go wrong, or get you into trouble while you are away, and you deal with it.
The trick is to get your mind as tidy now, as your desk is before you leave for the seaside!

One of the main reasons you are so effective at 'doing everything' before your holiday is the self-imposed deadline.

The brain loves a deadline, try this;
Give yourself ten minutes to write down everything you have to do this week - work, home, social, external commitments - everything.

Time yourself and stop dead on ten minutes, do not allow anyone to interrupt you
Write it as a list, a journal entry, a letter to yourself, any way you like - just get it on paper.

Amazingly, those 'five hundred things' you had to do - paralysing you with fear and leading to your inactivity straight after coffee - turn out to be ten or twenty activities, of which only a small percentage are vitally important.

Things tend to look less scary written down.

There have been endless studies regarding writing and its effect on the human subconscious.
It appears that the human brain needs to put ideas and feelings into language to absorb them fully; there is a connection with the combined actions of thinking something, the physical act of writing it down and then the brain cataloguing its relevance.

Having studied and experimented with a number of methods, my advice would be this;
Take the last ten minutes of your working day and write down everything you have to do.
Throughout the evening and while you are asleep your super-computer of a brain will defragment the information and work on finding solutions, while registering the importance of each item.
Ensure that you have given yourself enough rest, and great things will happen.

When you wake up your mind is ready to go, there is a spring in your step, answers start filling your head while you shower, while you dress, over breakfast, cleaning your teeth - when you can, jot them down as single word reminders so you don't forget, because by this time you already have a couple of fantastic solutions.

The car journey gives you even more time to tackle the day ahead - for your own safety, do me a favour and write these down at the office.
When you get to work and sit down at your desk you give yourself another ten minute deadline, get those thoughts on paper - clear your mind, it'll only take as long as a coffee.

Trust me, ideas rush by and are easily forgotten.
I have friends who write songs, they have created masterpieces in the morning, left the studio feeling really happy with themselves, only to return a couple of hours later with only the vaguest melody of their once future hit.
Strokes of genius do not hang around I'm afraid - if you don't secure them as your own they'll pass on to someone else - leaving you with that 'it's just on the tip of my tongue' feeling muttering the words 'I had it, if I could just remember it!'

So unburden yourself from the weight of all those unprocessed thoughts and uncompleted tasks and put them on paper, let your subconscious file everything away appropriately.

Keep it all together in one place and regularly look back across all your past achievements.
And when things get a little heavy, all the problems that appeared to be 'life or death' situations only a short time ago, can act as a reminder of how you can handle everything that comes your way.

Hopefully this will help you develop a clear and confident mind, a positive outlook and a good night's sleep

"Did I tell you how divinely and utterly happy I am?" Holly Golightly

Do this now
Give yourself a ten minute deadline to find out what's really bothering you and let your super-computer sort it out.

Do this from now on
Start the ten minute deadline exercise just before you finish work, start each morning with an open mind and put your own breakfast epiphanies down on paper every day!

Author and consultant, Chris Murray is the founder of Varda Kreuz Training, one of the UK's most innovative training and development organisations.

With more than twenty years experience, creating and running two successful businesses and working with companies which have included, LVMH, Minolta and Jim Beam Brands, Chris has presented programmes to sales teams and managers whose portfolios have encompassed everything from water to Champagne.

If you wish to discuss this article or book your next training workshop with Chris Murray you can call him direct on 0161 935 8183 or email

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