'Me' Time at Work

When we are fully absorbed in an activity, the mind tends to get focused and more pointed. "Me" time away from business-at-hand allows the mind to become steadier, quieter, promoting more awareness, harnessing new energy, becoming more attentive.

Despite the inference, "Me" time is not selfish. During an emergency on an airliner, we are instructed to put our own mask on first because we can't help others until we first take care of ourselves. Think of "Me" time as your oxygen mask. We need it to live and be more effective.

Work/life balance challenges and multi-tasking can cause short tempers, memory loss, ineffectiveness, even depression. Our ability to honor obligations becomes more limited unless or until we ourselves are first whole. Taking the time out to remove distractions and disconnect boosts psychological well-being and can make us more engaged and productive. Studies show disconnecting allows us to regroup, recharge and reset, which is critical to well-being which also has big-time career benefits. In other words, as Kenny Rogers says, "know when to walk away."

"Me" time helps us experience a change of pace and turns awareness within so that the mind can restore its natural balance, help improve focus, creativity, energy, temperament and productivity according to the Benson-Henry Institute, Boston, MA.

"Me" time can include anything from meditation and naps to writing, reading, walking and working out which releases serotonin, the "happy hormone."

"Me-time" is a controversial concept as many lament they don't have extra time and it may seem counterintuitive with today's countless demands and frenetic pace, and some people feel guilty "walking away." Time is a precious commodity and finding the time can be a challenge. However, analysis shows that those who make this time, versus spend more time at the same work-dedicated activities, enjoyed better well-being, experienced greater work- life balance and were more engaged.

Whatever activity you chose, take whatever time you can comfortably manage and walk away. Start with 15 minutes. There is no magic number. Most people can find 15 spare minutes during the course of the entire day. When you begin to experience the benefit of positive energy, renewed creativity and reduced stress levels you will shed the guilt and deem yourself worthy of the effort, and this will have a positive effect on everything else in your life.

Just do it. Schedule the time and try to schedule at the same time, as our bodies loves consistency. Taking time out for yourself is not a luxury - it's a necessity. Be good to yourself and put your own mask on first. The rewards will be exponential personally and professionally.

Judith Bowman, speaker and business protocol coach, is president and founder of Judith Bowman Enterprises and Author of "Don't Take the Last Donut and "How to Stand Apart @ work." She may be reached at Judith@protocolconsultants.com.