The top most powerful ways to ‘break’ for enhanced productivity at work
The purpose of this blog is to highlight some simple yet effective ways that you can recharge your batteries whilst at work – so that you can continue your duties more refreshed.
Of the list that will follow, the choice you make will depend on your personal preference, work culture and management system or support structure. So select that which complements you and your individual work circumstances. (For more on this, look out for the soon to be published ‘August 2013 Work Smart top Tips‘)
A useful strategy is to schedule rest into your working day (also known as strategic renewal). The key word is to SCHEDULE this in; just as you would an appointment. There are various ways to do this according to what works best for you:
Breaking every 90 minutes
is one nominated way because we drift into and out of focused consciousness in 90-minute cycles.
Working in short bursts also known as ‘Pomodoro’ technique is another way; working in short bursts e.g. cycles of 25 min work versus 15 min rest – or a version of this which works for you. Look here for some feedback from people who use this technique. This may take some practice initially – just as any new skill does. But it is worth the investment of your time for results you gain.
The underlying principle about strategic renewal is the importance of taking time away from the main work hub; did you know that one third of employees eat lunch at their desk?
Ways to relax and recuperate at work:
• Taking work outdoors- utilising the fresh workspaces that inspire
• Taking short naps (20-40mins) at work (yep you heard it here)
• Going for walks
• Doing exercise; jogging, running, doing sport
• Listening to music,
• Doing ‘brain gym’ exercises
• Bringing attention to your typical energy trajectory- scheduling complex work for times when you are most alert
Activities outside of work that help:
• Having a good nights sleep (it is estimated that $63 billion is lost to under performance related to poor sleep)
• Taking regular holidays
• Working from home
Tony Schwartz, director of ‘The Energy Project’ has stated that he used to write a book per year, but after taking up a strategic renewal pathway that works for him (he chose to work in focused 90 min bursts), he has been able to write 2 books in 6 months. Thus, he has been able to increase his productivity by a factor of 4. I highly recommend you read his full article here. It is intriguing and truly inspiring. I use his story to inspire attendees on my ‘Work Smart – Your Time is of the Essence’ training course.
Personally, I aim to exercise 5 mornings a week for a minimum of 35 minutes, it is August 2013 and I want to reduce my waist by 5″ by the end of the year, sometimes if I feel demotivated, I find it personally effective if I tell myself to ‘start gently’, and I coerce myself by saying I ‘only have to do 20 minutes’ (for some reason, this really gets me out of bed and more importantly out of a negative head space (talking myself out of exercising)).
I love the following quote by Tony Schwartz; it perfectly highlights the essence of ‘rest’ and ‘recuperation’ as part of a healthy and effective work pattern:
‘…the energy employees bring to their jobs is far more important in terms of the value of their work than is the number of hours they work. By managing energy more skillfully, it’s possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably. In a decade, no one has ever chosen to leave the company. Our secret is simple — and generally applicable. When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work.’ Tony Schwartz is the chief executive officer of The Energy Project and the author, most recently, of “Be Excellent at Anything.”