Adults often lose energy and diminish productivity during transitions and children often have a rough time moving between activities, resulting in strong emotional reactions.
Relaxing and setting intentions before transitions helps you restore your energy and helps children adjust to changes and settle into comfortable rhythms.
Transitions happen several times throughout the day.
From awake to sleep.
From home to commute.
From commute to desk.
From intense brainstorming sessions to email time.
From work to home.
From awake to asleep.
You get it.
How to better manage transitions and boost energy & productivity:
- Start the day with a positive mindset: Approaching your first transition is as simple as saying to yourself before you even get out of bed, “I got enough sleep and I have enough time to get ready.” See this Thrive Global article for more on the importance of tackling this first transition.
- Practice a short relaxation and intention exercise between activities: Decide how you want to feel and what you want to bring to the next activity. Click here for a two-minute relaxation and intention setting guide.
- Avoid unnecessary transitions: Many transitions are inevitable and important parts of our day. However, most are avoidable. Like switching from your email, to your phone and to a presentation you’re drafting multiple times in a brief period. Avoiding excess transitions will preserve energy and boost productivity.
- End on a high note: End your day (and last transition) with gratitude. You can write down specific things you are thankful for each day in a journal, say a short thank-you prayer or simply remember your favorite part of the day as you lie down to go to sleep.
How to help children adjust to transitions:
- Establish a rhythm for wake and sleep times: Do the same thing each morning, such as a hug and a kiss and walking to get a drink of water followed by getting dressed. Turn on the same music each night at bedtime.
- Use singing to signal changes in activities: Using a “clean-up” or “wash up” song to alert children that it’s time to clean up or time to take a bath gives them notice that it’s almost time to switch activities. Then they will learn and anticipate the next steps and won’t be caught off guard.
- Sequence child-focused time and rest periods: Giving children time to recharge is good for everyone. If you go to the zoo follow it up with some quiet time at home.
- Use kind authoritative statements: Too many choices can be overwhelming for young children. If the desired outcome isn’t a choice, phrase it as a statement rather than a question, “It’s time to get ready for bed” rather than, “Do you want to put on your pajamas?” And if you want to make chicken for dinner, make chicken for dinner and don’t ask your 3-year-old what she wants to eat for dinner.
The unexpected transitions
Of course, we can’t predict all transitions.
Sometimes a presentation is cut short by an office fire drill.
Or perhaps your husband drops a smoothie, sending green liquid and shards of glass all over the kitchen floor and you need to take a break from your work from home time to help clean up.
Not that this happened this morning or anything…I love you babe.
The unplanned transitions can often be the most challenging ones.
This is when committing a few of the transition relaxation exercise phrases and questions to memory are clutch.
When an unexpected transition occurs, take a few slow breaths and ask yourself these three questions:
- How do I want to feel?
- How can I bring positive energy to this situation?
- How can I bring joy to others?
So, you’ve just finished reading this article.
What’s your next activity?
Take two minutes to relax and set the intention using this guided script.