Christmas is now just around the corner and for many of us it will be a chance to take a few days break from work and to recharge our batteries. In our frenetic modern world we probably don’t take enough time out to put our feet up and smell the coffee, so the festive break could be the perfect time to do just that.
Boosting Our Mental Energy & Well-Being
There is a very good article in the Belfast Telegraph today which looks at how taking time out can actually make you more productive so we thought it would be a very good time to share this with you. The piece is written by Caragh Medlicott and Chris Griffiths and it particularly looks at ‘focused daydreaming’ as a way to boost our mental energy and well-being.
Below are a few snippets from the aforementioned article:
“We’ve all done it: lunch eaten at our desk and an evening toiled away in the blue light of our laptop screen. Sometimes every job demands extra hours, but when that overtime becomes a part of your everyday routine, it’s time to ask: who is this benefiting? Most people who overwork do so because they believe that input equals output. In other words, they think that pulling a 12-hour day will result in more tasks completed. While it’s easy to see the logic behind this thinking, the truth isn’t quite so simple.
Use Regular Breaks Away From Our Desks Productively
“We humans are not machines and many things, from mood to outlook, can impact the quality and quantity of the work we produce. The good news is that the best way to improve on both accounts might just be found in the forms of regular breaks and the way we use the time away from our desks. As they say, a worker is only as good as their tools — and if you’re working with a blunted saw you can spend countless hours wiling away on a block of wood and still only make minimal progress.
“When we’re concentrating, our brain operates like a spotlight, enabling us to put all of our attention on the task at hand while blocking out irrelevant background noise. While this is great in the moment, our mental energy quickly becomes depleted when used in this way and we need to downshift our neurological functioning during a break in order to replenish our reserves. The best way to do this? Focused daydreaming.
“Focused daydreaming is different to being stuck in your head worrying about the future or mulling over the past. Instead, it’s about allowing your mind to freewheel in a fun, creative way. The best method for inducing this state is to do something monotonous which requires a low level of attention while still leaving the mind free to wander. Some examples of this include mechanical tasks such as doodling, puzzles, walking or running and even chores like washing up.
“As strange as this suggestion may seem, breakthrough research from the University of British Columbia showed that — contrary to scientific theory prior to this — when we daydream our brains light up with activity. It’s not surprising, then, that this state not only relieves us of the mental depletion we experience while concentrating, but also improves our creative abilities via connection-making and problem solving within the brain. So, by taking daydream breaks at strategic points throughout the day, you can not only come back to your work feeling energised, but with creative solutions to problems and new, innovative ideas as well.
“With all these benefits, it’s a wonder why everyone isn’t taking regular breaks every day. Yet, the most common push-back comes in the form of a protestation that employees are simply “too busy” to take time away from their work. But when you really get down into the fine details of it, you’ll often find that the real problem is “busy fool syndrome” — a phenomenon that arises when workers are doing things which make them feel busy but not effectively prioritising work.”
So there you go! Something to bear in mind for us all. What I like about this is it will give me a great excuse to put my feet up over Christmas in front of the fire with a glass in my hand. And if my better half asks me to help out I can tell her I’m busy with focused daydreaming although whether that will placate her remains to be seen–