Most of us think that being completely focused on something is the best thing we can do, but we forget about a key point: our brain was not designed for that. After thousands of years of evolution, we are made to be constantly alert and that’s what has allowed us to survive and get to where we are now. Nowadays we are expected to stay focused for long periods of time and that is just not natural. We shouldn’t be working non-stop but taking some moments off from time to time (sometimes even with no specific purpose). Why? Because it is relaxing, it is good and, what’s more, there is scientific evidence that the mind quite often solves its problems while fantasizing.
Here’s an example: ‘the dreamer’s epiphany’. Yeah, ok, we gave it a very snobby name. What if we translate it into common language? An ‘epiphany’ is a revelation, and it could perfectly be each and every one of those moments when you suddenly figure out something extremely important. That is, the typical ‘OMG! How come I didn’t notice this before??’
When you’re in your car, humming some little bit of a ditty, or when you’re in the shower, lost in your own mental morning mist, and suddenly, Bam!! The solution to a problem strikes you… Voila! You’ve just met your new best friend: the epiphany. Well then, if you’re an expert daydreamer and spend your days exploring the dense forests in your imagination, you must know that you’re a lucky one. Believe it or not, great breakthroughs come out of connecting ideas on diffuse mode thinking. That’s because our insights change and the results are valuable connections and new knowledge.
5 productive work breaks
- Go for a walk around your neighbourhood. If you want to boost productivity, there’s nothing quite like breathing some fresh air and stretching your legs. And if you feel like you’re wasting your time, you can always run some errand.
- Chat with your partners. When you’re stuck with a task, don’t hesitate. Look for a friendly face and go to their desk. A two-minute light chat will help you refresh your brain. You’ll see how ideas flow again when you go back to your seat.
- Go out for lunch. Half an hour may seem very little time, especially if you’re at the office, but if you go out for lunch, you’ll find out that it is more than enough. And not only does this feed the body: a good conversation or a little time on your own will help your mind relax and go back to work with more energy.
- Cat nap. This concept automatically springs to mind a very pleasant sensation, doesn’t it? FYI, one of the latest trends in modern companies is to allow their employees to have a cat nap whenever they feel sleepy and need it before keeping working. Moreover, sleeping is never a waste of time.
- Exercise. If your company has a gym, don’t hesitate to use it for at least ten or fifteen minutes every day. If you’re not that lucky, don’t worry; you can do some stretching exercises anywhere else. And what about going straight to the gym right after work? Ok, don’t panic, we won’t hit that nail on your head.
And in case this is not enough for you, let us tell you that the photography term ‘soft focus’ is a concept you might want to apply to the way you approach some of your day-to-day tasks. We all have different priorities, so you could approach the last ones on the list more ‘softly’. Let’s just say that you turn them into something like your ‘pressure release valve’. Little by little you release the accumulated tension and regain the energy you need to do your best until you leave work.
And if you’re not a worker but the boss (and you want to be a good one), accept it. Your employees’ breaks, the chatting, or a joke and the laughter it brings in moments of stress, do nothing but to increase their productivity.
You know, to get them working harder, let them rest.