Typically, people attempt mad productivity by pushing themselves insanely. Work, work, work to get more done!
But, nope. That is not at all how it works.
Pushing hard with a crazed mentality leads to burnout, fatigue, and grumpiness. And those three factors combined is a recipe for becoming an unproductive person.
Here’s what Professor John P. Trougakos has to say:
“Mental concentration is similar to a muscle. It becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover, much as a weight lifter needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions at the gym.“
Inserting pockets of rest into your day can induce a guilt because in we tend to believe that if we aren’t working, we’re being unproductive. However, recharging your internal resources is essential for remaining sharp and “ON.”
Fellow productivity expert Tony Schwartz, author of the book The Power of Full Engagement, tells us, “Human beings are designed to pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy. That’s how we operate at our best.”
When To Take A Break
“Try to take a break before reaching the absolute bottom of your mental barrel,” Professor Trougakos says. Symptoms of needing time to recharge include drifting and daydreaming.
Trougakos goes on to add that there is no need to take a break if you’re on a roll. Working over an extended period can be invigorating — if it’s your choice. What drains your energy reserves most is forcing yourself to go on.
Summing Up The Truth About Productively Working
When it comes to productivity and concentration, everyone has a different capacity. Another expert who’s led groundbreaking studies on effective work patterns, Dr. Levine states:
“Long hours don’t mean good work — highly efficient, productive work is more valuable. And frequent breaks promote that.”
Offering some general guidelines, he suggest working in intense 15-minute bursts, punctuated by breaks, in cycles that are repeated throughout the day. This works because “the thought process is not designed to be continuous,” he says.
What I Notice With My Clients
As a productivity consultant to many super-driven people, I often notice resistance to the above principles. But the clients that listen and decide to adopt the advice – they FLY.
Wanna soar with the best of them? Adopt frequent resting. Play with the concept until you’ve found a productive pattern that fits YOU.