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5 Reasons It Pays To Trust Your Gut

5 Reasons It Pays To Trust Your Gut

Decision-making is a fundamental part of life and of human experience. We make and take decisions, big and small, every single day. But what’s the best way to make decisions – using facts, experience and data, or trusting your gut?

It’s an age-old question, one we’ve never really been able to answer. That quirky urge, the unusual tingle, an angel on your shoulder, that little voice in your head – these are all signs of gut feeling. But should we rely on these little signs to navigate our way through this thing called life?

Here are 5 reasons you should trust in your gut when you make decisions, whether they’re big, life-changing ones like buying a house, getting married or on a bit smaller in scale, like what to have for breakfast or what to wear on a night out.

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1. Trusting your gut could get you ahead at work

It comes as no wonder that many of the most well-known business minds, from Richard Branson to Steve Jobs, have vouched for the power of instinctive gut thinking for make decisions. Jobs himself famously said:

“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Looking to your gut rather than your brain could well help you in your career. This infographic from gaming experts 888 Casino shows that intuitive decision-making can be effective as much as 90% of the time. 62% of business executives say they rely on gut thinking to help them make key decisions

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2. It could help you spot a liar

Want to yell: ‘Liar, liar pants on fire!’ and be sure of it? Trust your gut. Research has found gut instinct is better than our conscious minds when it comes to spotting fibbers. The study found, perhaps surprisingly, that instinctive, automatic assumptions could well be more helpful when spotting truth-avoiders.

3. It could help you sort the wheat from the chaff

It seems first impressions really do count. It might be possible, using gut instinct, to weigh up whether a person is a good egg or not, in a matter of seconds – 10 to be precise, according to social psychologist David Myers, who wrote the book ‘Intuition: Its Powers and Perils.’ His book argues that early humans who could quickly detect whether a stranger was friend or foe were more likely to survive.

“If you don’t trust somebody, even if it turns out to be inaccurate, it is something to pay attention to,” intuitive psychiatrist Judith Orloff told Care2.com. “If you’re walking down the street at night and you get the feeling ‘stay away from that person,’ just cross the street.”

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4. Gut instinct could help you spot your soulmate

Sometimes you meet someone and they literally take your breath away. When it comes to relationships, instinctive intuition could well be the best watermark for figuring out if the person you’ve just met is someone you’re going to spend the rest of your life with…or not. The Casino infographic shows that, with 80% accuracy, it takes just 3 minutes to work out whether a couple will stick together or end up getting divorced. So when it comes to soulmates and spirit animals, trust your gut.

5. Intuition could guide you through life

You might be familiar with the book ‘The Dice Man’, which is about a psychiatrist who decides to make his life decisions based on the casting of dice. In the end this gets him into all manner of trouble. He would have been better off trusting his gut, because in general, making decisions on gut instinct alone can help you make the right call up to 90% of the time.

It really does pay to trust your gut.

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Featured photo credit: maggiedent via maggiedent.com

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

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Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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