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Why You Should Do What Kit Kat Tells You

Why You Should Do What Kit Kat Tells You

When it comes to our careers and work in general, thriving and growing within our job means we need to be as productive as possible. Getting results means getting things done but when we’re in this mindset we usually end up sacrificing breaks in order to create more time.

While this can bring about results in the short term, over time it can lead to burnout and feeling mentally drained. Our productivity will eventually take a nosedive simply because we haven’t taken time out to switch off and take a breather.

Tiredness and fatigue is a result of our bodies not getting enough time to restore energy plus adding skipped meals into the mix means running on empty with no sufficient nutrients and energy to be the productive person you want to be. It’s a vicious cycle that many of us jump into.

Why Don’t We Take Enough Breaks?

It’s a catch 22 that we skip our breaks in order to be more productive yet the more we do this the less productive we actually become. So why do we do it?

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No time. Feeling like we have more work than time to complete it is common. Constant emails and meetings means when we step into the office in the morning time can fly into mid and late afternoon. Yet you feel you never get anything finished – there are even more emails and meetings piling up for the next day.

Afraid of what others think of you. Even if your boss isn’t that demanding, you don’t want to seem like you’re skiving at work by taking too many breaks. This is worse when you work in an open-plan office where people can see your every move. You can start to feel paranoid when you take your third 10 minute break of the day feeling that your colleagues or managers are judging you.

You don’t think breaks are necessary. Many people find breaks inconvenient and think sitting down and relaxing for 10 minutes is a waste of time. It can feel unenjoyable when you know you have so much work to be getting on with that many just don’t take that needed break.

You don’t know how to take a break. Many places of work encourage people to take breaks away from their desks but if this isn’t the case for you, sitting at your desk can lead to scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feeds. While this may feel like a break, it doesn’t relax your mind or really give your mind the mentally productive break it needs.

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What Actually Happens If We Don’t Take Those Needed Breaks?

Performance decreases. Research has shown that working on a task for long periods of time without a break creates a decrease in performance overall. While taking regular breaks increases performance on the task at hand.

Procrastination increases. Getting into the flow while working is a great feeling but this doesn’t last forever. As humans, we get bored and this usually leads to procrastination. Our brains aren’t designed to focus for long periods which is why taking a break is more beneficial and gets us back on track when boredom sets in. It’s all about “deactivating and reactivating”[1] our goals to stay focused.

Attention span is shortened. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. This can decrease even more if you continually never take breaks. In other words, we end up running on empty in terms of cognitive function which can be resolved by taking time out for our brain to reboot.

Fatigue and burnout. A burnout is usually the last thing to happen but it’s the collective routine of not pausing to take time out. Tiredness and fatigue is usually the precursors and indicates that our body is getting worn out. This can result in the task taking longer to complete or getting sick resulting in tasks not being completed at all.

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Take Breaks to Increase Your Productivity and Wellbeing

Track and limit the time you spend on tasks. Do you know how much time you actually spend on daily tasks? Research suggests[2] that only around 17 percent of people know the amount of time that goes by when they’re tackling a task. Be aware of how much time you spend so you can gauge a better understanding of a productive schedule and when to interject breaks.

Shift your mindset. Often our biggest hurdle is not accepting that breaks are for our benefit. Start to view taking breaks as a necessity rather than a hindrance.

Never skip meals. Scheduling lunchtime meetings or using your lunch hour as a way to keep up with mounting work is extremely detrimental to your productivity. Skipping meals or rushing them will only harm your health and long term productivity. Use this time to relax and think of things unrelated to work as this reboots the brain as you nourish it.

Throw away excuses. ‘I don’t have enough time’ may have crossed your mind numerous times but we have to bin the excuses. Help yourself by making a list of what you need to get done for the day to help declutter your mind but remember to include breaks in this list as they’re just as important. This will help speed up the process of getting things done.

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Consider exercise. Sitting down away from your work or taking a nap are great ways to rejuvenate. But research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine[3] has found that incorporating exercise into your work day may help improve productivity. Try joining a gym near your work, go for a lunchtime run or a simple walk to get your brain energised and ready to tackle work again.

Just Take That Break!

Try not to convince yourself that working for long stretches is the optimum productivity strategy. It’s clear from research that our brain isn’t designed to concentrate for long periods and needs time to switch off in order to work at its best.

One study found the secret to the optimum routine for productivity: working for 52 minutes and breaking for 17 minutes[4]. This created the best work flow for highest performance.

So ditch the excuses, don’t work through lunch, take time to eat and refuel, and even consider going for a workout. Whatever it is you do, make sure you carve out important time to reboot your brain and watch your productivity levels rise!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel.com via pexels.com

Reference

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

7 Signs You’re Burnt Out and How to Bounce Back

7 Signs You’re Burnt Out and How to Bounce Back

Has the possibility of becoming burned out ever came across your radar?

Burn out can happen to any of us. It can happen as a direct result of a toxic work environment or it can creep up on us as we pour all of our energy into doing the work that we love. Either way, when signs of burnout become apparent, they tend to look the same. Furthermore, adjustments must be made to reverse burnout and to prevent it again in the future.

Behaviors and habits that can lead to burnout include staying up long nights working on projects, saying yes to every request or opportunity, taking on extra work from co workers, and decreasing connections with your family and friends outside of work.

Outside forces such as ineffective leadership, unclear expectations, toxic work culture, persistent high workload, and no room for growth can all add to burn out.

When signs of burn out set in, you slowly start to do things differently. There’s a chance you may not even realize what is happening.

Keep in my mind that burn out may mimic other conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder. Please see your trusted health care provider to rule out any of these conditions.

Keep reading for some key signs of burnout:

1. Poor Performance and Loss of Self Confidence

Noticeable declines in work performance and confidence in your ability to complete previously mastered assignments are signs of burnout.

The pace of the work environment can seem faster and more demanding than ever. The goal of you doing world-class work may diminished to hopes of you barely getting by. You may have decided that staring into space or searching for a new job seems like a better alternative to working.

Poor work performance can become a routine and often leaves the person wondering how did this become a problem in the first place. You may even think that your boss will call you out on your performance sooner than later.

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How to Bounce Back:

Think back to the motivation you had when you were hired or when you were getting your job done with ease. Think about your thoughts and actions that allow you to perform well. The ability to perform at or around this level is still within reach.

Make a plan to eliminate distractions at work. Also, prior to coming to work make sure you are well rested and are eliminating energy-draining interactions.

2. Pessimism

Talking about the amazing work you do has given way to negative talk. Constantly complaining over small tasks that didn’t bother you in the past is a sign of pessimism. Your co -workers may even point out that you have been increasingly negative with your communication lately.

Your outlook on life, especially work, is in the dumps. It is harder to find positive things to say.

How to Bounce Back:

Even in the midst of burnout, your time should be spent on forward-moving thoughts.

Change the way you are looking at your current situation. Your body will do everything in its power to make sure that your actions are in alignment with your mindset and thoughts.

Therefore, thoughts that are negative and self-defeating will need to undergo a productive reframe. A high level of awareness must be initiated. Self coaching yourself through negative thinking can be the first step in awareness.

When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, first ask yourself “How does this make me feel?” Then, decide if those feelings will push you closer towards your goals and priorities or keep you from taking action.

If your thoughts are not forward moving, ask yourself what does thinking and feeling the opposite of this look like? It may seem awkward at first, but keep at it until positive thoughts are at the forefront of your thinking once again.

3. Feeling Unfulfilled

Sometimes, the workplace is known for being a fast pace, high-stress environment. Feeling like you’re part of the team and your contributions matter to your team can really help increase your level of fulfillment.

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We all have things we’re good at or interested in. When our talents and strengths are highlighted in an environment, we will thrive as we get things done.

When we are constantly left out of vital conversations, we will feel irrelevant and as if things are happening to us and not on behalf of us.

How to Bounce Back:

Talk to the person in charge and discuss your concerns. Confiding in a trusted and knowledgeable co-worker prior to meeting with your boss will help to make your communication with your boss fair and objective.

Set goals and deadlines with your boss or team leader to help increase your fulfillment. Follow up with your plan of action on your goals.

Keep in mind that there will be some level of compromise but making your boss aware of your viewpoint and feelings is a major step in feeling fulfilled and feeling like a contributing member of your team.

4. Poor Sleep Quality

Staying up late at night, tossing and turning, thinking about your day’s work can really affect your sleep quality. Studies have shown that just a few hours of missed sleep is detrimental to our performance and mental capacity.[1]

How to Bounce Back:

Try setting a bedtime routine and stick to it. Make sure that your bedroom environment is supportive of a good night sleep.

Social media never sleeps and it’s best to cut back or eliminate your social media time about 1 hour before you go to bed. Blue light interferes with your ability to feel sleepy and messes with your sleep cycle.[2] Your electronics can be set to switch to a softer light prior to bedtime.

5. Dread

The thought of work sends you into a tailspin of negative thoughts and body sensations. You wonder will this ever end and the amount of tension in your neck is at an all-time high.

The feeling of dread can make you retreat from your daily activities to ruminate on the idea of returning to work. Feelings of dread steals valuable time.

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How to Bounce Back:

Develop a routine to relax and practice deep breathing.

Consider a small breathing exercise that you can practice at work if dread or overwhelm creeps in. Go into an empty room or the bathroom, close your eyes, and take 10 big deep breaths. Control your breathing as you inhale and fully exhale. Notice what time of the day you are needing to step away to take breath and start scheduling your routines.

Neck massages at bedtime or therapeutic massages may also help to relax your body and prepare you for the work week ahead. Keep in mind that self care is a necessity.

6. You Lash out More

You notice that you are short tempered and lash out at your loved ones more than usual. When you are experiencing burn out, you may find yourself less patient about certain things and snapping at your loved ones.

You know they don’t deserve this treatment and you want to get this behavior in check so that you can restore the loving supportive environment you are used to having.

How to Bounce Back:

Be aware that your loved ones may not understand how your work environment is affecting you.

Consider how you would feel if you were the recipient of irritable interactions when you didn’t have the whole picture of what was happening.

Take time to explain your situation with your support system. Also, seek services through your work or independently in order to preserve the relationships within your support system.

Your love ones are there to support you. They should not be the expert to get your thoughts and feelings in check- neither should they be expected to fulfill this role.

7. Exhaustion

Does the phrase this job is “sucking the life out of me” ring a bell? Mental exhaustion is totally apparent when work has taken its toll on you.

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Being too tired to do simple house chores or attend events that you once loved is a sign of exhaustion.

How to Bounce Back:

Set small goals to take action daily on your priorities. If your priorities include keeping a clean living area or hanging out with your friends once a week, stick to your plans.

You will find that your mood is improved and you are not as drained once you are doing things in alignment with your goals and priorities.

The Bottom Line

Burn out can creep up on you. It can be caused by personal behaviors, habits, or toxic work environments. Regardless of the factors that lead to burnout, the signs of burnout are the same.

Awareness is the first step of knowing what is happening. The next step is taking action based on the specific signs you are displaying.

Recovery from burnout may look like identifying the culprit that caused you to burn out so that you can continue making progress in your work.

Recovery can also require you to make a strategic exit from your current situation to restore your peace of mind and fully recover—and never look back.

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Featured photo credit: Niklas Hamann via unsplash.com

Reference

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