Dare to live without limits Week of 1/27/20

Bryan Golden

Use rest to make yourself more productive

There are a lot of benefits to being highly productive. However, productivity is diminished by burnout. As mental and physical fatigue set in, you experience a drop in productivity, reduced ability to make sound decisions, clouded judgment, and a distorted perspective.
Productivity is a measure of how much you have accomplished, not how long you have been working at a particular task. Taking appropriate rest breaks enables you to get more done in a shorter period of time.
Productivity is not working more. Productivity is working smarter at peak efficiency. This can only be accomplished when you are well rested. In addition to a good night’s sleep, you require rest breaks during the day.
Consider the example of a rechargeable flashlight. After a full charge, it is at peak brightness. When it’s left on, the bulb dims over time as the battery becomes drained. With periodic recharging, the flashlight will maintain its intensity. You recharge by resting.
Some studies have found that your brain needs a break every 90 minutes to three hours. Other research shows that working intensely for 50 minutes followed by a 20 minute break works best. Since the exact work / rest cycle which is most effective varies by individual, knowing your requirements is essential.
A short nap of 10 - 20 minutes about half way through the day can have as much of a positive impact as several hours of sleep during the night. Experiment to determine which cycle works best for you.
Burnout is also cumulative during the work week. Research has shown that hourly productivity declines significantly after working more than 50 hours in one week. Then, after working a week of 55 or more hours, there is such a marked drop in productivity that working any additional hours is virtually pointless. So, a person working 70 hours in a week will accomplish no more than someone working 55 hours.
When you rest during the day, you must totally detach from the work at hand. Not doing so, boosts stress and strain, effectively negating any rest benefits. You are not taking a break when checking emails, returning phone calls, or doing anything task related.
Engaging in physical activity is a great way to recover from mentally intensive tasks. Moving your body changes your focus and boosts blood flow to your brain, which is crucial for mental focus.
If your work is physically demanding, resting your body is appropriate. This can be enhanced by engaging in mental activities, such as reading during a break. Rest is most effective when it involves changing activities from whatever you had been doing.
To provide additional motivation to rest, here are some of the many benefits you will enjoy:
You will have better focus and be less prone to distractions. You’ll also get back on track faster after being distracted. Your productivity will remain constant throughout the day, so you won’t experience the afternoon slump.
Your stress level will be reduced. You’ll make better decisions and fewer mistakes. Your initial assessment of problems will be more accurate. You will readily formulate solutions instead of becoming overwhelmed.
Adequate rest boosts your immune system, while also enhancing your physical well-being. Many physical ailments are connected to stress and fatigue, which are both reduced by rest. You’ll also have more mental energy and better focus. Creativity is another benefit.
Take care of yourself by getting effective rest during the day. Working until you drop is not a badge of honor. Highly productive people use rest to work smarter instead of harder.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2019 Bryan Golden


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