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How To Super Boost Your Productivity By Taking Quick Nap

How To Super Boost Your Productivity By Taking Quick Nap

It is now generally accepted that a short sleep or nap in the afternoon will boost your productivity and get you raring to go again. The southern Mediterranean countries have known and practised this since ancient times. Some large companies, such as Google and Apple, have nap-friendly policies. Other companies put napping pods in the communal areas so that taking a power nap is accepted.

According to NASA, you can boost your productivity by about 35 percent if you take a 26-minute nap. Don’t worry — it doesn’t have to be exactly 26 minutes!

If you want to do it privately, you can go to a napping spa where you will get a 20 minute nap for about $17. The important thing is to prevent the short nap from becoming a longer, deeper sleep (slow wave sleep). That might mean you would wake up feeling rather groggy and bad-tempered. This is why 20-45 minutes is usually considered ideal. Some experts say that longer than 30 minutes is unproductive, however.

There are many studies that list the benefits of napping. These include being more alert, reduced fatigue, faster reaction times, better memory, enhanced mood and sharper logical reasoning. Not to mention more efficient decision making. All these without the need for yet another coffee!

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If your company does not have napping rooms, you may find that an inexpensive device called a Dream Helmet (about $30), which has a pillow, mask and earplugs, will help you have a short nap.  Here are 9 ways to make sure that you are going to get the maximum benefit from your nap.

1. Choose your best time to nap

“You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner… Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one — well, at least one and a half, I’m sure.”Winston Churchill

Everyone has different sleep patterns and sleep-wake rhythms. These rise and fall throughout the day. You have to work out what is best for you. If you suffer from insomnia, a nap may not be a workable solution.

If your sleep is regular and you feel that you are slowing down and drowsy in the mid afternoon, then that is fine, as a nap will not interfere with your night sleep schedule. Aim for a short nap. Anything more than 45 minutes could make you feel even worse when you wake up!

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2. Remove your shoes

Taking off your shoes is just one thing you should do to get comfortable. Maybe you do not have your pajamas with you, but loosening any tight clothes will be a great way to relax.

 3. Please do not disturb

Make sure that those around you know that this is your time out and that it should be respected. Ensure all your devices are switched off and you are in a quiet spot. In the workplace, this may well be impossible; but if you are working from home, it is certainly easier.

4. Sit down or lie down?

Well, you are not a horse so you cannot take your power nap standing up! Lying down will help you relax and sleep. Even if you do not actually doze off, there are still benefits from a quiet wakefulness. Napping while sitting is also beneficial although it is better to lie down, if you can.

5. Use a blanket, if you have one

Blankets give you a sense of security and comfort. But there is another reason why we should cover up. As you sleep, your body temperature tends to go down and metabolism slows. Without a blanket, you may feel cold and wake up.

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6. Be careful with wake-up gimmicks

Normally, you will sleep as long as you need and it is best, in my experience, to avoid using an alarm clock or other gimmicks. If you have appointments, however, set the alarm on your phone.

7. Darkness helps you nap

Aim for a dark spot if you can. Any light pollution interferes with the sleep process, as has been shown in scientific studies. Always have your eye mask handy, just in case you do not find a dark place.

8. Learn to feel less guilty

“Sleep is the food of the brain”- David Gozal.

In the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant tradition, sleeping on the job was a no-no. Now all that has changed, thankfully. Learn to get over any guilt complexes about sleeping on the job. You are merely recharging your batteries, and your brain will be in top gear when you wake up.

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9. Drink less coffee

Coffee is great for that caffeine shot that keeps you alert and gives you more energy. But the negative health effects from too much of it are well known and documented. These include jitters and anxiety. It can also keep you too hyped up so that when you want to nap, you will find it difficult to nod off.

Have you managed to take a nap at work and did it really increase your productivity? Tell us about what happened in the comments below.

 

Featured photo credit: A well deserved power nap/Chris Lawrence via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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