One of the most important parts of our day is taking time to recharge. And there’s a specific line for it in your Focus Planner.
The reality is that we can’t keep spending energy. At some stage, we have to recover energy. When we try to keep our high-octane focus happening all day, we eventually start to burn out. In fact, research shows that we can only maintain our peak mental capacity for 90 minutes - after that, every single marker of performance declines: self-control, focused attention, problem-solving, even reaction time.
So, the answer is to take small breaks which allow us time to refill our performance fuel tank, so we can perform at 100% again. These only need to be short - around 10-15 minutes at a time, with maybe a longer one thrown into the day somewhere. When we do this, we can then get that focus back up to 100%.
Let’s be clear about this: if you spend three hours at your desk without a break, then chances are the last 1-2 hours isn’t nearly as productive as you think it is.
Three Needs of Recharge
To recharge effectively, we need to have three main components:
Firstly, we need to slow down. Don’t rush from place to place and squeeze in some personal chores, just slow down.
Secondly, we need to disconnect physically and mentally. Remove yourself from the work environment and try not to think about whatever it is you’re working on.
Finally, we need to move. When we move we re-oxygenate the brain.
Here are some ideas:
Ways To Recharge
- Breathe - as little as 10 breaths helps us to slow down
- Stretch - at your desk, outside, in the lunchroom… wherever
- Stand in the sun - sunshine is one of our natural energy rechargers
- Go for a walk - movement is wonderful
- Read - a book, a newspaper article…. but definitely not work
- Music - preferably something slower and chilled, but whatever floats your boat
- Meditation - like breathing on steroids… clear your mind
- Chat to a friend- our brains love social interaction ….. but definitely not about work
- Lie down with your feet up the wall - no joke. You’ll look strange but it can lower stress chemicals
- Just sit still and notice what’s around you - sometimes called mindfulness
Just three ten minute moments throughout the day helps boost performance dramatically. And when you get home, you’ll be less stressed and have the time and energy to devote attention to the things that matter.