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10 Reasons Why The Most Productive People Make Time For Doing Absolutely Nothing

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10 Reasons Why The Most Productive People Make Time For Doing Absolutely Nothing

Being productive can feel exhilarating. It can provide a rush that energizes you, inspires you, motivates you, and has you reach your goals. Productive people are focused on their goals and take charge of their lives.

It is a common misconception that productivity is tantamount to being busy. They are not one and the same. Busyness can happen at times, but it can really mean being over-committed instead. Sometimes, it is unavoidable. Sometimes, life throws us things to do that we did not plan on, nor do we have much of a choice about. The key to balancing these times of increased tasks is to take the time to “do nothing.” This nothing is intentional and fulfilling. It should not be confused with laziness or lack of drive. Doing “nothing” can actually increase your productivity.

Getting things done can take more than hard work, diligence, and knowledge. Sometimes, during “crunch times,” it can feel like the need to push is even stronger. You keep your head down and don’t allow any distractions to seep in. Working harder, is not necessarily the most productive way to accomplish tasks, however. It can lead to stress, burnout, insomnia, and even illness. In the effort to achieve greater success, we can actually lose our awareness and enjoyment of life

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Every now and then, a well-placed “timeout” can be extremely effective. When you are faced with so much to get done in so little time, it can feel overwhelming. It can feel like everything is an equal priority and has to all get done right away. You may go to bed wondering how you’ll ever get it all done. To-do-lists are great ways to jot down all you need to get done in your day, but the need to say “yes” to everyone and everything that comes along can actually hinder progress. Being busy can actually become a default setting. Worst of all, it may take energy away from the things you enjoy.

Some of the most productive people place importance not only on being effective, but also on the value of doing “nothing” so they can be more efficient at doing their many “somethings.”

Check out these 10 reasons why productive people make time for nothing:

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1. Doing nothing gives them perspective.

The big ideas often come when productive people step away from what they are working on. Taking a break and opting for a change of scenery can bring clarity when they return to their lives.

2. Doing nothing gives their bodies time to catch up on rest.

Rest and relaxation are keys to good health. Coincidentally, vital people get more done.

3. It leaves room for something new to come in.

When the most productive people step away from their busy lives, new people and experiences have the room to show up. The daily grind can lead to dissatisfaction and a hopeless feeling like nothing is getting done.

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4. Their creative fires are fueled.

Taking breaks can be the best muse.

5. Their minds quiet…

…and stress is alleviated when the most productive people take a timeout to themselves.

6.  Being prone allows our nervous system to rest.

According to Chloe Park of Mind Body Green.com, without this kind of relaxation, we are only operating at 70% capacity. Stress is actually counter-productive.

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7. Resting the body releases tension, which makes them able to endure longer days.

When they lay down to rest, their spines elongate, letting gravity give their bodies the rest they need to do more.

8. They mediate and find clarity and equanimity, alleviating stress and re-activity.

Oprah Winfrey talks about the value of meditation by saying, “Only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.”

9. They know if they do not take time to relish in their accomplishments…

…their productivity has no real value.

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10. They understand the power of saying “no”.

If they say no to some things they can actually give themselves the breathing room to say “yes” to do more of what they want in life.

Featured photo credit: Handsome hipster relaxing on campsite at a music festival via shutterstock.com

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Bridget Baker

Web Presence Sherpa

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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