I know we all naturally have different ideas about what it means to work hard.
Many of us think that working hard means working constantly. I know many of us to think we can’t take another break or we can’t take any holidays not until we break through. But why work hard? How about working smart? It’s like a deep-rooted guilt that doesn’t allow us to stop for a while.
Just so it’s clear, everything I write here is also a message to myself. I recently discovered how much more productive I am when I take breaks. Like real breaks, not the ones where you think about the work you’ll do once you’re back at your desk. Breaks that allow me to completely disconnect from my work environment, body and mind. With no guilt.
Part of the ongoing challenge is this constant access we have to information, updates, news and opinions. And it seems that if we stop being part of this constant presence, we’ll lose the game. But which game? We’ll lose the game of productivity. We’ll lose the game of being physically and mentally healthy.
Here’s what works for me and I’d love it to work for you as well:
I’d have to write a book about meditation and how my life changed the moment I started meditating. Just start meditating for 10 minutes and see how it goes. You don’t need to follow any particular trend, just get in touch with yourself for a few minutes every morning or throughout the day. Be consistent and don’t give up. It gets better, it does. And it’ll give you perspective before you even start with your working day.
- Start working early
I was never a morning person although I always had to get up early. Now, even if I have a chance to sleep in, I never do. I love starting early. I love the quietness and space I have to breathe. It’s one of my biggest productivity hacks, start ticking things of your daily list early.
- Read fiction
Don’t wait till you go to bed to read a book. I read a few pages every morning after my meditation. I read anything but business books during my working day. Being able to pick up a book and get into a story for a few minutes gives me mental rest. When I go back to work I see things differently. So try this trick whenever you feel stuck or tired.
- Take breaks
How many times do we plan for a break and then we just postpone it because something last minute came in or because we’re in the middle of something? Especially if you’re writing a lot like me, not taking a break because you’ll lose your creative moment, is happening all the time. So plan for your breaks, make a promise to yourself that when you’ll finish the article, you’ll drop everything and go out and about.
- Go on holidays
Or book holidays in advance to make sure you’ll take the break you deserve. Yes, we all deserve to go on holidays, even if you’re at the beginning of your career or if you just launched your new business. We need holidays. So plan your days off. You don’t need to go far but you need to change habits and disconnect for a few days.
- Talk with a friend daily
That’s a big one on my list. Try to talk with friends daily. Friends who don’t want to talk about work. I always feel that my friends are my buffer zone. I’m glad that most of them work for a different industry so their perspective is as subjective as it can be.
That’s a no-brainer. You want to get over brain fog, you want to work faster, you want to be more productive, stress-free? Exercise at least once a day. If you can spare 30 minutes during your working day, even better. Exercise makes your brain work.
On top of these tips, stay away from processed food and sleep enough. These are long-term investments, these are the pillars to a good working day, and they have a big impact on our brain function. You won’t be able to meditate or think clearly if you lack sleep or the right nutrients. You’ll work harder than you should and your productivity will plummet.
Let’s all try to be smarter with the way we work and the way we treat ourselves.
We need breaks and holidays. Real ones. Then we’ll be the most productive we’ve ever been.
Author: Sofia Simeonidou
Author Bio: Sofia Simeonidou: Food & Fitness Editor, Yoga Teacher, Fitness Trainer
Sofia is a food and fitness editor and writer, a fitness trainer and RYT certified Yin Yoga teacher in the making. She’s a former financial product manager who has found that fitness and doing the training you love makes you a better person. When she’s not writing about health, fitness and food, you’ll find her running her content and web-design company in Amsterdam.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @thefitsisters_ | http://www.thefitsisters.com