One working definition of “productive” in the modern sense might be “to make the most efficient use of available inputs in order to maximize output.” To work productively, you not only need to know how to exert the least effort to get the best results, but you also need to recognize that your mental energy is finite and requires replenishing throughout the day. With that in mind, below are 4 breaks you can take from work that will help you fully utilize your cognitive bandwidth and sustain your highest quality of work for the longest stretches of time.
One of the fastest ways to restimulate your mind is to put it through its paces while having fun. This is what brain games like Sudoku or crossword puzzles are designed to do. But they are not the only amusing mental workouts you can give yourself. Word games like Scrabble, which you can play on both phone and desktop, require you to dig deep into your verbal intelligence to find words and score points. If you are struggling to come up with winning combinations, consider using a tool to help you unscramble letters.
Meditation and Breathing Exercises
Meditation is a great way to not only enhance work satisfaction but to boost your productivity as well, whether you are working from home or the office. Meditation helps declutter your mind, which is often one of the major causes of mental fatigue (i.e., having too many competing things on your mind at the same time). If you have somewhere isolated and quiet you can go during your breaks, incorporating short meditation sessions and one-minute breathing exercises into your work-life balance can radically change the ebb and flow of your days.
Music is a productivity booster when you listen to upbeat, complex songs in between tasks. Instead of a social media or coffee break, consider popping your headphones in and listening to something uplifting or epic. There are entire playlists dedicated to this style of music on YouTube that can act as a major shot in the arm.
It is well-known that laughter is an important part of self-care. It is good for heart health, mental health, your mood and can even help you refocus. If you break your day up into scheduled breaks, a good way to make sure you come back to work more productive is to try and incorporate something that makes you laugh into these respites. It could be revisiting a funny scene in a movie or television show or watching a few minutes of a favourite comedian’s set on YouTube. One thing is for certain, spending your breaks laughing instead of despairing because of all the negativity in the world is much better for your psyche and focus.
To remain productive, you need to understand how productivity works. It is not something you can simply will into being, it has to be, in a sense, cultivated. Keep that in mind when planning your work breaks and enjoy yourself while being strategic in harnessing your potential and maximizing your output.
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About the Author
Lauren MacDonald is a freelance writer who covers work-life balance and mental health for blogs and publications across the web. When she is not reading and writing she is out camping with her husky Rocky.
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