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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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Published on October 9, 2020

Feeling Fatigue? 3 Reasons Why And How to Fix It

Feeling Fatigue? 3 Reasons Why And How to Fix It

Fatigue can be described as the overall feeling of tiredness, lack of energy, and having no motivation. This feeling of fatigue is such a common problem that it has its own abbreviation, TATT, which is short for “Tired All The Time”.

Various factors can contribute to fatigue, including psychological, physical, and lifestyle factors. The key is to understand which contributing factor or factors may be resulting in you feeling fatigued and understanding what steps you can take to fix the problem.

Forming new habits, lifestyle changes, and a change in mindset can be the first steps in overcoming fatigue. It may simpler than you first think.

What Contributes to Fatigue?

There are three main factors that can contribute to feeling fatigued. These are the following:

1. Psychological Factors

Work and family worries can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. If you are facing any problems in your relationships, they may be causing you mental and psychological burdens, which can make you feel fatigued.

2. Physical factors

Sleep apnoea, anemia, being overweight, and pregnancy are some of the examples of the physical causes of feeling fatigued. It is important to see your doctor if you are experiencing ongoing fatigue that you cannot attribute to psychological or lifestyle factors.

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3. Lifestyle Factors

Sleep, hygiene, working long hours, exercise, diet, and alcohol can all contribute to fatigue. In today’s world, it can seem that there is too much to do but too little time to do it.[1]

How to Overcome Fatigue

Now that you know the factors that are contributing to your feeling of fatigue, what steps can you take to overcome it?

An important factor in overcoming fatigue is to practice self-care. Utilize your time more efficiently to create more time for you to do what you want to do rather than spend too much time worrying about what you have to do. A simple change in your mindset and approach to life can make a big difference to how fatigued you feel.

1. Daily Chores and Habit-Forming

Let’s start with the basics. There is a saying that a tidy home helps promote a tidy mind. If your home is untidy and cluttered, then how are you able to even think about relaxing? You will always have tasks on your mind that you need to do, and you won’t be able to fully take advantage of your relaxation time.

Create daily habits that take little time to do but if done every day enables you to keep on top of your housework and chores.

The result is that you do not have to spend a large part of your weekend on a big tidying up of your home. You will not spend your relaxation time in a cluttered home not fully being able to relax because everywhere you look reminds you of the chores that you need to do.

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  1. Make your bed in the morning. This sets your intention for the day and also helps create a tidy bedroom.
  2. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you need to. This ensures that you are not in a rush in the morning and have time to have a quick tidy up after yourself and your family. Being in a rush creates undue stress and anxiety that can affect the rest of your day.
  3. If you do not have time to wash your breakfast dishes, put them in a neat pile next to the sink. If dishes are scattered around the house, it immediately creates the illusion of more work to be done.
  4. When you get back from work, calm down for 10 minutes, sit down, watch TV, and create a line between your work life and your home life. If you have kept on top of the morning routine, then there should not be much housework for you to do when you get back home.
  5. Start making the evening meal, do the dishes as you go along, and make lunches for the next day. Multitasking is the key to creating more time for yourself.
  6. Eat the evening meal as a family at the table. Use this time to catch up on the day’s events and anything that you need to discuss.
  7. After the evening meal, set 10 minutes for relaxation and then clean up. Get your child to help you to take the dishes out and share this task with your partner if you can. You can use this time to chat among yourselves and communicate before you all do your separate things.
  8. Finally, give the house a quick hoover. Put your clothes out for the following day, and you are ready to do what you wish with your evening. You can relax knowing that lunches are prepared for tomorrow, the house is tidy, and the chores are completed.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

The best way to overcome feeling fatigued is to avoid what causes it, and you can do this by living a healthy lifestyle. To live a healthy lifestyle, take note of the following:

Sleep

The amount and quality of sleep that you get each night is an important part of preventing fatigue. Good sleep hygiene is a must. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night to promote health and well-being. The benefits of good sleep hygiene are increased focus, productivity, and being more present throughout the day.[2]

Sleep is the time when the body heals and restores itself. It promotes weight control and lowers the risk of health complications. Quality sleep can also improve memory and mood.

If you struggle to obtain good quality and amount of sleep, then there are a few tips that you can follow to ensure that you get a restful night’s sleep.

  1. Try to limit caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and can affect when you are ready to sleep.
  2. Try to avoid food close to your bedtime. Your stomach can take 3 to 4 hours to empty. If you go to bed soon after eating, then indigestion or heartburn can disturb your sleep.
  3. Turn off devices at least an hour before bed as devices can create too many distractions. You may be tempted to reply to emails or scroll through endless social media posts. Why not read a book rather than reaching for your phone?
  4. Avoid naps in the day and try to get in the habit of going to bed at the same time every night.
  5. Meditate before you sleep. There are plenty of apps and videos on the internet that provide guided meditation. Meditation is a good technique to practice to promote relaxation ready for sleep.

Healthy Eating

Your body runs off what you feed it. The best way to get the most energy from your food is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best food possible. Besides what you eat, when you eat can also impact your energy.[3]

The key to healthy eating is making time to prepare.

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  1. Make a meal plan each week before you go shopping. Plan for both evening meals and lunches at work. This saves you money but also ensures that you are eating healthy and not rushing to the shop on your lunch hour to grab a high-calorie convenience food.
  2. Involve your family in the meal planning. Use websites such as BBC Good Food to find a healthy variation of quick healthy meals. look for some ideas for delicious and healthy lunches you can take to work.

Finally, make sure that you value mealtime. Use your evening meal as quality time with your family. Try not to think of mealtimes as an inconvenience but as precious time that you can spend with your family without any distractions.

Exercise

It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect, and you don’t need a GP to get some. Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had. But for too long, we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.[4]

Many forms of exercise can suit your lifestyle, current fitness ability, and resources. Exercise can have a positive influence on fatigue as it impacts areas such as sleep quality and energy as mentioned above.

You may have the time, money, and no other commitments that enable you to join a gym and to attend the gym regularly. You may use your exercise time as social time and join a class or a sports club.

You may have family commitments, confidence issues, money issues, or other obstacles that prevent you from attending a gym or sports club. However, there are many online videos or fitness apps that you can do in the comfort of your own home or you may prefer to go running, jogging, or walking. Exercise is very personal to you and your lifestyle.

Yoga

One form of exercise that can be done at home is Yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that involves both the mind and body. It can have an effect on your whole lifestyle with regular practice and help change your whole mindset and thus, having a positive impact on your feelings of fatigue. You can try out some beginner yoga poses first.

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The benefits to practicing yoga can include:[5]

  • Decreases stress
  • Relieves anxiety
  • May reduce inflammation
  • Could improve heart health
  • Improves quality of life
  • May fight depression
  • Could reduce chronic pain
  • Could promote sleep quality
  • Improves flexibility and balance
  • Could help improve breathing
  • May relieve migraines
  • Promotes healthy eating habits
  • Can improve strength

Summary

Fatigue can be attributed to one or more of the following factors: psychological, physical, or lifestyle. Whichever of the factors contribute to fatigue, the key is to ensure that you have self-care as your priority.

If you have a healthy, balanced lifestyle, then you will be more equipped to be able to deal with and overcome any factors that could cause you to be overwhelmed by fatigue.

The first step is to form a calm and relaxed environment as a base to practice your self-care. Creating daily habits and routines can ensure that your home environment is as relaxed and easy to manage as possible.

From this foundation, you can then have the time and energy to invest in healthy sleep habits, healthy eating, and exercise to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle and prevent the risk of being overcome by fatigue.

More Tips When You’re Feeling Fatigued

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

Reference

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