I red a super interesting book by a best-selling author Tony Schwartz ”The Way We are Working Isn’t Working” and I wish to share with you very useful bits and pieces in terms of our productivity and time management in general.
Basically the main gist of the author’s theory could be summarized into three words ‘‘Puls and Pause”!
It’s about the science behind the productivity benefits and the idea that we as humans do not and, can not produce work the same way that a machines can in spite of overestimated expectations by our employers notably in the business sector to deliver results that a computer can do. We aren’t machines also due to fact that humans need to balance in between the spending and renewing of our energy.
In other words, the author suggests that humans are designed to “pulse” between expending & renewing energy. Hence, Schwartz’s research shows that humans naturally move from full focus and energy to physiological fatigue every 90′ as human body sends us signals to rest and renew, but we override them with coffee, energy drinks, and sugar… or just by tapping our own reserves until they’re depleted. Instead, the author suggests that we need to purposely take short breaks every 90′ throughout the day to drink plenty of liquids, best water, eat healthy several time a day, exercise or just walk.
I believe that Tony was inspired in developing his theory of pulsing energy from still not enough known so called ”Pomodoro Technique” whereby you set a timer for 25′ and work on a single task with your full focus. Afterwards, take a second 5′ break to get up, move around, maybe drink some water. Then, you repeat the cycle. I have tested in it works but you need to repeat many times so that it can turn simply into your habitual behaviour in terms of time management.
I also red that a group of companies based in Baltic countries installed software that tracked the time and productivity of all their employees. They discovered that their top ten percent most productive employees didn’t actually work any more hours than anybody else. In fact, they took more breaks. On average, this high-productivity group worked for 52′ and then took a 17′ long break.
Keep in mind that it’s not about length of your break, but rather figuring out what “pulse and pause” cycle works best for you also because humans cognitive capacity declines throughout the day, so we better build in frequent mental breaks to recharge and maintain productivity. Furthermore, many users of the above technique feel the deadline approach provides also added value for us to be more productive. I think that it really depends on an individual basis because not all techniques and methods fit for all. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile testing it. Deadlines works perfectly for me because it helps me to drive focus and intensity in seeing those minutes ticking away.
You can realize that most of these techniques recommend taking a longer break after you have cycled through your work sprints and breaks a certain number of times. Hence, in one variation, after four complete cycles it’s recommended to take a break of 30′ but you may ask how should I use this break ? Well, there are many options, but one that the author recommends is to do some workout or simply walk because it improves our metabolism and increases energy levels. I am personally not inclined to an idea including exercise within the workday for number of practical reasons, hence, I prefer using this longer break for simple exercise or just a walk or a bike ride which is equally effective. Quick workouts give a huge boost to energy and feed our brain with the oxygen we need for healthy and productive functioning n every day life.
All in all, try some of these combinations, adjust them as it suits you and realize how actually powerful they can be in boosting your productivity.
Get More Done With Less Stress!