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Maximizing your productivity is not about working as hard as you can for as long as you can. Balancing both your dedication to work routine and your ability to take breaks are crucial for qualitythoughtful breakthroughs, and maintaining mental well-being. Incorporating routine into your workday — think of it as a way of automating your approach to your efforts, to minimize effort — can pay big dividends. Conversely, knowing when to step out of the flow to regroup and recharge can also give a big bump to your effectiveness.
Read on for some tips and tricks on how routines and breaks can work together to boost your productivity. It has been shown that adopting routines can make you more productive.
In any job or any typical day, for that matterthere are tasks you need to perform over and over again. A successful work routine might include meeting with your colleagues every Thursday morning for a status update, or writing up extensive reports on a biweekly basis.
You can also make your routines more efficient by keeping templates, checklists, and reminders at the ready — all tools that help you streamline your endeavors. Routine can also help harness your creativity. Routine is a hallmark of many big thinkers : Charles Darwin enjoyed a lie-down and cigarette at pm every day; Mr. Rogers took a regular afternoon nap; and Maya Angelou rented a hotel room in which she wrote every day, while geniuses like Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein liked to wear the same thing every day in order to not expend mental energy on wardrobe decisions.
While you can certainly change your outfit as often as you like, becoming routine-oriented can help you to be more productive. Here are some tips:. The downside to being routine-focused is when you confuse it with inflexibility. And while routine is how you boost your productivity, remember that you can individualize it to your needs. Even small changes can boost your creativity and productivity simply by shifting around a few details. Routine is a hallmark of efficiency. Taking breaks can improve both your productivity and creativity.
In fact, not talking them can make you less productive. According to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, concentration is like any other sort of sustained effort — you can only toil away for so long before you become fatigued and reap diminishing returns. Even with multiple studies touting the effectiveness of workday breaks, people report that they have trouble taking them or they take them, but feel bad about it. Another study found that just one in five employees even take a lunch break.
Even with multiple studies touting the effectiveness of workday breaks, people report that they have trouble taking them. You already know that you simply cannot work at top speed for the entire day. You need to step away and recharge at regular intervals in order to deliver thoughtful, quality work. How to best recharge is different for everyone — you may need to take a walk, while someone else really gets their reboot from a cup of coffee and a few minutes of small talk.
In a perfect workplace scenario, employees would feel comfortable taking cognitive recharge breaks when they need them, and managers would facilitate those breaks. Concentration and productivity levels are different for everyone, which is why you should take time to figure out how and when you work best. Try charting your ultradian cycles to see when you experience your peak productivity times, and harness those times so that you can work smarter rather than just longer. While breaks are necessary and good, you can abuse them. Keep one eye on the clock.
Go for a walk or hit I need a break from routine gym, if you can make the time. If nothing else, enlist a co-worker to take a quick stroll with you to grab a coffee or do a brisk walking lap around the building.
Let your break be an actual break, where your mind wanders and you do not think about work at all.
Diffuse thinking happens when your conscious mind is relaxed and you begin to make connections in a seemingly random fashion. Apart of from providing fun, a game of ping-pong allows you to stop working on a problem and lets your brain to go into diffuse thinking mode. Taking a work break can be the thing that allows you to work better. Another great reason to take regular breaks: goal reactivation.
Cognitiona study showed that by working continuously on a task, you run the risk of losing sight of your objective. When you do that, you are more likely to catch mistakes. A regular routine in tandem with systematic breaks is the energy management tool that will let you get the most out of your workday. Written by Barbara Atkinson on November 3, Originally published on the Evernote blog. You have something to accomplish.
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Why You Should Break The Routine, Sometimes