Every now and then we go on what I call a “work spree” – trying to get as much done in a set amount of time as possible. We work countless hours, typing away and forgetting to eat. This addiction is obviously not healthy and can jeopardise the very thing we’re trying so hard to do in the first place – produce quality work. Remember, productivity isn’t so much to do with quantity as it is quality. Sure, you can get a lot of work done in a short period but can you get it done to a high standard?
It may sound counter-intuitive but taking regular breaks actually increases productivity. The mind can only focus for so long before it shuts down. If you’ve experienced a mental slump, it’s probably because you are trying to work too hard. It’s great to have a desire to work endless hours but you can only do it for as long as it benefits you. At the expense of your health, it may be wise to take a step back. I have noticed that when I force myself to work really hard (sans break), I start to become very stressed as well as agitated and this is due to the fact that I am denying myself of much needed relaxation. Of course, that is not to say that you shouldn’t be a hard worker – but you should strive for that perfect work-life balance.
Starting today, I’m going to implement a new schedule where every 2 hours I take a break. That means 2 hours of dedicated, focused and solid work followed by 15-30 minutes of rest. I suggest you try this too. Now this isn’t the ordinary break where you get up, stretch, walk around (and what have you) then sit back down. No. This is the kind of break where you completely disengage from work. Maybe you sit and watch a scene from a movie. Maybe you go for a run in the park. Perhaps you read a chapter of your favourite novel. You can even do a bit of knitting. Whatever relaxes you. After 30 minutes, you get back to work. Now, if you’re going to the office and as part of your job, you have to remain seated, this isn’t going to be possible (although you can go for 5-minute coffee breaks). On days when you’re working from home however, it’s a lot more doable. Try to take as many intermissions (short, quality ones ranging from 15 to 30 minutes) to completely clear your mind and start afresh. When you get back to your work, you should find (after you’ve given your mind only simple tasks to focus on) that your brain is bursting with ideas.
Thanks for reading. Have a productive day (or evening)! And make sure to allow time to put your feet up and unwind.