Increase your productivity with this one simple change

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” -Aldous Huxley

I came across an article recently which claims that smokers are more productive at work after puffing away.  That definitely caught my attention, and I was curious to learn more.  Could there be an upside to smoking?

Actually, no, there isn’t!  It turns out that it is not smoking but the breaks in between periods of working which lead to increased productivity.

This theory is heavily supported by Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project.  According to Schwartz, humans require rest and renewal – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – even during our waking hours.  Research has shown that we operate optimally at 90 minute intervals.  After 90 minutes of performing an activity, we get restless, lose focus, and become tired.

In today’s fast paced culture of being plugged in 24/7, we have conditioned ourselves to ignore the signals.  Rather than rest, we rely on other means, such as sugar, caffeine, and activating adrenalin from our stress hormones, to keep us going.  As a result, we become addicted to these artificial methods of renewal, which causes us to be increasingly reactive.

Our ability to think clearly and creatively decreases.

The solution:  work at high intensity increments for 60 to 90 minutes by focusing on one activity in any given moment, followed by a recovery break.  It is important to be good at your recovery practice by disengaging completely for a few minutes.  Take a few deep breaths or do some stretches.  This is not the time for social media or idly surfing the web.

By operating in this manner, you’re managing your energy level, which is internal to you as opposed to managing time, which is external.  Energy is the capacity to do work.  By managing it well, we become more productive.

Some conscious companies recognize the importance of taking breaks and encourage their employees to build them into their day.  How amazing is that?

Do you see how by managing your energy you can influence how you feel and perform?  Could you commit to building recovery breaks into your schedule?

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