Get Things Done By Getting Away

In Chronicles of a CEO by Rebecca Liston

I am well aware that the very title of this article seems contradictory, but I think we know one another well enough by now that you’ve likely come to realize that I love to look at things in different ways, and with that often comes contradiction.

If you’re anything like me, my colleagues, my clients, and friends, you’ve been taught that the only sure-fire way to “Get Things Done” is to buckle down, nose to the grindstone, and hammer it out.

And the truth is, we’ve not been deceived. Getting things done in this manner is brilliant. It works!

Until it doesn’t.

Until you can’t focus because your eyes are exhausted.

Until your hands are cramping, your body aching, from sitting at your desk for hours on end.

Until your brain is fuzzy with fatigue.

Until you find yourself so caught in the minutiae of the tasks at hand that you’ve lost the vision of why you are doing what you are doing to begin with. (You know, that whole “can’t see the forest for the trees” thing.)

And then, my friends, then the old “nose to the grindstone” concept falls suddenly quite flat. And it no longer works because YOU can no longer work. And instead of “getting it done” you’re staring off into space or home sick in bed or zoning out in front of Facebook.

It has happened to all of us at one point in time. Heck, it happens to some of us every single day!  But it’s time to put an end to the “go hard” dogma and embrace another way.

I am here to advocate a “New Way of Getting Things Done” and I call it GET AWAY!

You may recall that a few weeks back I wrote about the benefits of laying on the floor in my office. It allows for me to rest, to enjoy a new perspective, and to return to my work with renewed enthusiasm and energy.

Now…if THAT can happen after ten minutes of laying on the carpet in my own office, can you imagine the results of getting away from the office completely for several days?

Take that concept of a new perspective, renewed energy, increased enthusiasm, and multiple it by a hundred. And then do that again…and again! Because THAT is just how exponentially GREAT it is to get the heck OUT of your office for a few days!

Now before you start to sweat about how you could “possibly” take time OFF (I know, I know, for some of you that’s just going to feel impossible), allow me to remind you that you can do this in baby steps.

Start by practicing just going out of the office for lunch once a week.

Head out for a walk for 10 minutes a few days.

Book off a Friday afternoon and hit the spa or the golf course.

And slowly, slowly begin to see the benefits of getting away.

I myself am such an advocate of this approach that I travel a lot (as much as I can with two wee girls who need me at home!)

Twice each year I retreat for a full week in some exotic location with three colleagues to mastermind and hang out and recharge.

Four times each year I fly out to Calgary and head into the mountains — I spend several days with clients while I am there (because they benefit from getting out of their offices and coming to see me, too!) and then retreat quietly on my own.

And I take two weeks away at Christmas and two weeks in the summer with my kids.

And it’s not like every single time I am away I STOP thinking about business. Or stop communicating with my clients or my team. But I do build that in to each of my times away so that there are complete and full days without work, where I shut off my computer, get offline, and just hang out.

The days of “push push push” and “nose to the grindstone” are gone, my friends.

It’s simply not healthy. And, quite frankly, it is not sustainable.

So I invite you to take me up on this next challenge and carve time into your schedule to get out of the office. Even if it is for ten minutes! Give yourself that gift, and watch as the benefits unfold before your eyes.

I believe in many things, and this is one that I believe in with all of my heart: success can come with ease and grace if we simply allow it. And that is my wish for you.

Let me know if you want to meet up for tea one day. It’ll do us both good to get out of the office 🙂

Big love,




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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit to find out more.