Take time each day to sit quietly, just with yourself. I think it’s crucial, especially if you’re living in an urban area, to take anywhere between one and 20 minutes to sit on your own, quiet your thoughts, and go within yourself. Do this twice a day if you can. It may seem like you’re taking away from your work, but what I find is that it actually adds time. The mental break enables you to be more strategic about how you allocate your resources. Busy does not equate productive; busy could, for example, mean answering emails that you don’t need to answer.
Leave blank space in your day. That’s when the great ideas emerge. Lots of great ideas came about because individuals left space in the middle of their workday. Go out and seek inspiration. Find an environment where you can come up with a great idea or strategy. This is true within each day and also within your year. Americans feel afraid to take vacations, but don’t be. Rather, ask yourself, are you giving yourself the bandwidth you need to create?
Get in touch with the kindness of “no.” ‘No’ is a kind word both to yourself and to others. It can be a beautiful act of self-love to give yourself the power to say no to people—not a mean no, but a very thoughtful one. Something like, “I’m sorry, and I wish you the best with this.” Try it one or two more times a day than you thought you would. Not only will people appreciate and respect you for saying no to things you cannot actually do, but you’ll also start respecting yourself more. There’s nothing classy about being frantic. Classy is about having time in your day to smile at someone, to have time to hold the door open for the person behind you, and to smile at them as they walk past.
Keep your friends and family close. We all need a space where we can be 100-percent authentic, and those we trust ground us in who we are. At work, in particular, it’s easy to try to act like who we think we should be—a woman trying to act more like a man in business, for example. But this actually hurts our ability to be successful because something always feels off, to us and to others.