Photo credit: Charley Smith
“You get more accomplished by working intensely for short periods and then refuelling than you do by working continuously over a long period of time. ” Tony Schwartz, The Rhythm of Great Performance
Research shows that you can only concentrate for a limited amount of time before you feel fatigued and the quality of your work is affected. At a certain point, you become increasingly vulnerable to distractions and defenceless against the siren call of social media and celebrity gossip.
Chunk Your Time
One way to boost your productivity and re-focus your attention is to learn from professional athletes and approach your work day like a high intensity interval training session. The most effective way to strengthen your cardiovascular system is to subject it to high stress followed by a period of recovery. Increasing your mental stamina works on the same principle.
Eliminate distractions and fully immerse yourself in a single task for 90 minutes. Then, just as you find yourself running out of steam, disengage your conscious mind from the problem and take a break to replenish your cognitive energy.
The key with these intermittent renewal breaks is to avoid the temptation to recharge with powerful stimulants like sugar, caffeine and nicotine that will send you hurtling towards burnout. Unfortunately, these substances, far from revitalising you, put you in a restoration debt that at some stage you'll inevitably have to pay off.
Take A Break
You could meditate for a few minutes, engage in a conscious breathing exercise, go for a walk outside, read a couple of pages of a novel, take a nap, do some bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups, dance to your favourite song, paint a picture, talk to a friend, eat a healthy snack, listen to a song, or you could do these bitesize yoga moves.
Seated Mobility Exercises
Seated Neck And Shoulder Stretches
Standing Upper Body Stretches
Body Scan Meditation