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Take Breaks to Boost Wellbeing and Performance

Taking breaks is critical for your wellbeing and for high performance, and it's easier to do than you think.

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take breaks

We work 12+ hour days but studies show we are only productive 3 hours a day. If you are in the U.K., it’s more like 2 hours and 23 minutes

Isn’t working so many hours a thing of the past? Isn’t technology supposed to make our lives easier?

We spend so many hours working mainly because we deal with distractions. 

“People spend about an hour reading the news, 44 minutes scrolling their feed on social media, 40 minutes chatting with coworkers, 26 minutes looking for a new job, 23 minutes taking smoke breaks, and so on.” says this article from Conscious Company.  

Well chatting with coworkers may not be happening if you are working from home, but your walks to the fridge are not helping your waistline either. 

In order to focus your attention so you can work three hours a day, you need to take breaks.

To stay focused, you need regular breaks 

If you want to protect your focus, you need to spend less time grinding and more time simply being. So for every hour to an hour and a half, you need an intentional 10-15 min break. 

Yep, this is the secret to boosting your performance. And while taking breaks, why not do something for your health too. 

Your brain is still working when you give it a break even though you are not realizing it. So, in reality you are still working, just better. 

By taking a break, I don’t mean scrolling on Instagram or checking your emails. That’s not going to cut it. 

Here are a few ideas for breaks that will boost your wellbeing and help you increase your performance.  

Go outside, unplugged

Go for a walk without your phone and engage all of your senses. See if you can smell, listen, feel the ground beneath you. Nature is known to help with stress relief, increase creativity, help you sleep better. Looking at patterns, find in nature are good for your inspiration. The caveat here is that you need to leave the phone behind. No listening to podcasts, checking your emails, or texting your partner to make dinner plans. Just you and the outside world for a few minutes. 

Move 

Do a few stretches, a few push-ups, a few squats, and a few jumping jacks. Moving energizes you.  Move your body in the way it wants to move. A gentle QiGong self-massage or a few yoga poses can help you sync your mind and body. 

Have you heard of the 7-minute workout? No kidding. It’s easy. It works. And if you do it 3 times throughout the day, you can get your workout in, while working. 

By getting out of your head and into your body, you are tuning into your intuition. This secret weapon will help you solve problems better. 

Breathe

Simply close your eyes for a few minutes and breathe. Just a few minutes in between projects will help you get centered and aligned with your next project. 

I like the box breathing to calm down my nervous system. Inhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four, exhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four. You can breathe with me by the shores of the Lake Tahoe if you want. 

Take a cold shower 

Yep, seriously. 

The benefits of cold therapy are many but I do it to increase my energy and my will power. No need for an afternoon coffee or sugary snacks. If you work from home, why not grab a quick mid-day shower. Who knows, you may even come up with your most creative solution while you are in the shower. 

Hydrate 

For the most part, we are walking around dehydrated. Your brain needs water. Instead of sipping on your water all day long, make it a point to drink a big glass of water every break you take. 

Rest is not the competitor to work. Rest is work’s partner. And rest is critical for your and your teams productivity

Getting into a state of flow

I like to work on no more than three projects for the day. I keep it simple and write down my three priorities in my analog journal the night before. This way, I’m not using any brainpower when I get to work. I just dive right in. 

I try to work in a state of flow, getting “into the zone”. This hyperfocused state allows me to get fully concentrated on the project at hand. 

Research shows that executives who work in a state of flow are 500% more productive. So I do everything possible to get into this state as often as I can. 

In order to do so, I take time in the morning to get myself ready for a state of flow by priming my mind and body. I refer to these practices as the Unhustle Morning practices

Start your morning right 

Starting your day with the right amount of calm, focus and energy can set you up for success. Being able to get into a laser focus productive day, also referred to as a state of flow is critical so you can work those 3 hours a day and have more time for living. 

Some of the practices I recommend doing in the morning involve making sure you get plenty of sleep, starting your day unplugged, connecting with nature, incorporating stillness, moving your body for energy, taking a cold shower, and setting your intentions for the day. Working with your energy for the day and making sure you are able to get into your day with focus and clarity is my way of taking care of my health, avoiding burnout, and getting more done, in less time.  

If you want to improve your well-being and performance, the Unhustle Morning™ will help you get there in seven days. 

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