Four tips for recharging at work
Do you always find yourself lagging during a mid-afternoon slump? Or do you lose focus after having worked on a specific project for more than a few hours? Whatever the reason, if your energy levels dip at some point during the day, you might be worried about how to keep your performance and productivity consistent. Fortunately, even if your employer doesn’t provide a meditation room or gym, there are ways to quickly replenish your energy. Here are some useful tips for recharging at work:
- Switch between tasks every two hours. As Elizabeth Grace Saunders explains in her FastCompany article titled “Forget Focus — Here’s When Task Switching Makes You More Productive,” deep work expert Cal Newport states that virtuoso violin players practice no more than four hours a day, usually broken into sessions of two hours. Since this practice applies to a range of fields where people perform intense work, it can also apply to an office setting. And there’s a bonus to switching tasks: It leads to enhanced creativity. One of the main reasons for this, according to the USC article “Switching Between Tasks Promotes Creative Thinking,” is that returning to a task allows you to look at it from a fresh perspective, which can lead to new solutions.
- Listen to music. When you’re performing repetitive tasks, music can boost your mood, which in turn enhances your productivity and efficiency, as Gregory Ciotti points out in his FastCompany article titled “How Music Affects Your Productivity.” For creative work, ambient music is a better choice.
- Use your breaks to actually forget about work. Let’s face it: Most of us continue to think and talk about work when we take a break — even if we’re out of the office. But if you can redirect your attention to something completely different for a short while, it can reenergize your brain. So instead of mulling over your supervisor’s latest email or a difficult work problem, do something completely different, like going for a quick walk, playing a game on your phone, calling a friend, or even doing some online shopping.
- Do some breathing exercises. If you’re running low on energy because you’re stressed, breathing exercises can help — like the quick exercise described in the MindBodyGreen article “A 5-Minute Breathing Exercise to Reduce Stress.” Sitting quietly with your eyes closed, breathe first into your belly, then into your chest. Exhale slowly through your nostrils. Keep doing this for 90 seconds. If you notice any tension, acknowledge it, and let it go.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can reduce the amount of time you spend trying to be effective when your energy levels are low and instead, do what’s needed to quickly recharge. And that in turn can help you be productive all day long.