On this blog, I write a lot about how to be more productive, and I believe in every point that I convey, and use many of them myself. In this post I’m writing about something that should go hand in hand with productivity, in fact, it’s essential for being the most productive person you can be.
What is it?
It’s relaxation. Relaxation is becoming increasingly important in an active world like ours, our bodies aren’t really designed for 9-5 work with little breaks during the day. There’s many physical and psychological benefits to relaxing, it reduces stress, elevates our mood, and definitely helps us be more productive.
Breaks are important.
Working without breaks (not ‘brakes’) is like trying to drive a car with flat tires, it’ll work, but it’s dangerous and you won’t get very far. Some people find that working long periods of time without having breaks does wonders for their productivity, and they’re probably right. But for most people, this isn’t the case. After working on something for a long period of time, you start to forget the purpose of what you’re doing, and where you’re going. This also ties in to the decrease in focus that normally occurs as well.
Basically, having breaks enables you to clear your mind and re-evaluate what you’re working on. The whole point of these breaks is to relax, to get away from your work. It doesn’t have to be something boring like staring at a wall, in fact I encourage you to do something active.
Small breaks are just as important as bigger ones.
When I say ‘break’, I’m generally talking about a period of 15-30 minutes where someone is relaxing in their desired way. I aim to have 3 ‘breaks’ per day, this helps me keep focused and also energetic throughout the day. Though these breaks are important, smaller ones are also very effective. I’m talking 5 or so minutes ever hour or so, depending on what you’re doing. A typical 5-minute break for me would be watching a YouTube video that I’m interested in, or getting something to eat. It helps to walk around during these small breaks also.
Don’t underestimate the power of nothing.
There aren’t enough people in the world doing nothing if that makes sense. I know it’s easy to get carried away with projects, and if you’re feeling motivated to work on something – don’t stop. This is what works for me, and it works very well. Doing nothing sends my productivity through the roof, and sure, I could spend the 50 or so minutes that I spend relaxing, on my work, except there’s no point. Why? My work won’t be of the same quality, it won’t be as creative, and it will definitely take longer than normal.
So what can you do?
I personally plan my days, and I’ll plan my relaxation periods/breaks. You don’t need to do this, but it helps to have 2 or 3 main breaks spread throughout the day. If you have a full-time job, then you’re most likely already having breaks, and if that’s the case, I urge you to spend your break time more wisely.
Instead of reading the newspaper and filling your mind with useless information (most of them are), why not set some goals for the afternoon? Or even go for a quick walk?