Can we really coax out more productivity out of ourselves by bulldozing through our weariness? The answer is no. Fact to note with, how to make the most of your time at work, discourages churning away nonstop. In support of this, science reveals that we are more productive when we give ourselves periods of downtime or rest, between our bursts of hard work. A study by Shai Danziger and colleagues at Tel Aviv University sheds more light on this.1 Expounding further, When we find ourselves in situations where our brain’s deliberate system is overworked, we tend to have less insight, self-control, concentration, and impaired forward thinking ability. Consequently, our productivity plummets.
Resting To Pave Way For Insights
In line with, findings from research indicate that when we allow our brains to take a break from a task, they do the crucial work of encoding and consolidating the information that we just took in. This process results in enhanced learning and insights. So, downtime or rest periods play key roles in improvement and enhanced productivity.2
As well, taking about fifteen minutes to write about two or more key lessons we learned from the day’s experiences, what strategies were working for us, boosts our productivity.
Here Is How To Make The Most Of Your Time At Work
1. Come With A Rookie Smart Mindset
A rookie is someone who has never done a particular kind of work before. Coming to work with this kind of mindset helps us to freely seek out expertise in others, connect dots easily, experiment, learn from mistakes and focus on incremental gains. Again, it keeps our mind unencumbered by preconceived views or deeply ingrained assumptions. As a result, our minds remain porous and open to new information. With all these, we find ourselves performing at higher levels, since we are free of blinders that narrow our focus and keep us trapped in a rut.
2. Work In Focused Blocks Of Ninety Minutes
Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson found that deep experts and highest performers typically worked in focused blocks of ninety minutes, and observed breaks in between.4 The breaks could feature as stretching the legs or getting a brief change of scene. Acknowledging this, it pays to take a brief break between the different task zones in your day. To throw more light upon, after an hour of catching up with your emails, allow yourself a few moments to stand up and clear your head, before diving into creative work. Spelling out with, scheduling and protecting your downtime or rest periods, features as an initiative that takes you to ideas behind how to make the most of your time at work.
3. Don’t Let Hunger Undermine Your Ability To Concentrate
When we are hungry, part of our deliberate system’s capacity gets diverted towards monitoring our pressing need for food and strategising how to fulfil it. “When will this meeting end?” “Is it proper for me to excuse myself?” “Are there any edible nuts left within reach?” In addition, it makes us irritable and aggravates our tendency to insist on our own choices. In consequence, we we tend to reach for the quick solution, the short-term boost or the standard option, instead of best choices. So, eating regularly helps us to stay mentally sharp.5
4. Make Important Decisions Wen You Are Mentally Fresh
Even hardworking committed people start to flounder when they are mentally exhausted, when they have gone too long without a break. Denying ourselves enough breaks or downtimes, deprives us of the mental energy needed to finish strong. In view of important decisions, whether they are analytic or creative choices, make them when you are mentally fresh, not drained.
5. Free Yourself From The Tyranny Of The Full Hour Meeting
Instead of defaulting to the full hour meeting, schedule forty-five minutes meetings. This will give your brain some minutes to recharge between commitments. In harmony with, whenever the chance presents itself, wrap up commitments slightly early, to allow yourself and others a few moments of downtime or rest. As you cultivate the the habit of wrapping things up a little before you have to, your colleagues will love you for it. The few minutes of downtime will delight everyone.
6. Step Back And Reflect On The Insights Arising From Your Day’s Experiences
What grabbed your attention? What will you do differently next time? This kind of reflection amplifies the value of your day’s experiences. Thinking back on your day, recalling what you discovered, an interesting fact or lesson learned, something you will do differently tomorrow, something achieved, something to be thankful for, something worth remembering, helps you to make each day, good or bad, as valuable and significant as possible. From reflecting, you set yourself to the notions of how to make the most of your time at work.
Consistent with, after each major experience of your day, after reading up a material, after a conversation, take a few seconds to write down whatever important thoughts stood provoked in your mind. As well, the tone in someone’s voice, the way a simple suggestion sparked many others, or an idea planted by a passing comment, can leave their impressions on your mind.
We make better use of our mental energy when we dedicate some time to recharging and reflecting on our day’s experiences. Plus, coming to work with a rookie smart mindset ensures that we have plenty to reflect upon and add greater value to our day. So, how to make the most of your time at work centers on these concepts.
1. Danziger, S., Levav, J., & Avnaim-Pesso, L. (2011). Extraneous factors in judicial decisions.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(17), 6889–6892.
2. Sami, S., Robertson, E.M., & Miall, R.C. (2014). The time course of task-specific memory consolidation effects in resting state networks. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(11), 3982–3992.
3. Di Stefano, G., Gino, F., Pisano, G., & Staats, B. (2014). Learning by thinking: How reflection aids performance. Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-093, March 2014.
4. Ericsson, K.A., et al. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363–406.
5. Food plays an important part in refreshing our capacity to embrace the next wave of work. There’s some disagreement on exactly why, though. Most argue it’s because the brain needs blood sugar; see Baumeister, R., & Tierney, J. (2011). Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. New York: Penguin. Others say it’s because hunger is a drain on the brain’s deliberate system, because it causes an unpleasant distraction that has to be managed with self-control: Kohn, D. (2014). Sugar on the brain. New Yorker, May 6.The upshot is the same, though. You need to feed your brain and you’ll get irritable and distracted if you don’t.