Working Smarter

Welcome to the fifth More Sales Less Time Challenge. I’m thinking you probably got a lot done in the past few days. The Pomodoro technique is a wonderful way to deal with procrastination of any sort.

If you have a big project to work on, think of breaking it down into 25-minute Pomodoro sessions. Then, set the timer and off you go. Shoot, I even use it on days when I’m tired just to kick-start my thinking. It always gives me the oomph I need to get going.

Speaking about oomph. When we feel swamped, our natural inclination is to dig in and work harder. This works for a short while, but over time it’s unsustainable. You get worn out, lose perspective and don’t have the energy to do much else.

I can’t tell you how many days and hours I sat glued to my laptop or working on my cell phone. I was a literal taskmaster, demanding that I get it all done.

That’s why I was so fascinated when I came across a study by the Draugiem Group. They wanted to find out what their super productive workers were doing differently from anyone else. Using a time-tracking productivity app, they discovered that the top ten percent of their employees took more effective breaks.

What’s interesting was that they worked really, really hard for 52 minutes – then took seventeen minutes completely off. Generally that time was spent walking, exercising or socializing with co-workers.

Sprint. Break. Sprint. Break. That’s what their whole day looked like. And, more importantly, they never seemed stressed out.

Turns out there’s a good reason for that. Like a muscle, our brain gets tired when it’s overused and we need to give it a rest. During our time off, our brain goes into mind-wandering mode where it pulls together fresh ideas and breaks through mental blocks.

If you don’t take a break, you’ll find yourself wandering. The next thing you know you’ll be checking Facebook and wondering how you got there.

To recharge your brain, you need to do something you enjoy! I said enjoy! Visiting favorite websites doesn’t work. Literally. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t refresh your brain.

You have to do something you enjoy. Today, when I’m stuck, I just get up and go for a short walk. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I always come back with a new perspective that’s well worth it.

So stop slogging away. Your brain is a muscle. It needs rest.

For your fifth challenge, I want you to experiment with breaks. Enjoyable breaks. Do it once an hour so you can recharge your mental batteries. When you come back, you will be energized and much more productive.

Seems counterintuitive, right? I thought so to, but personally it’s been a godsend for me.

Give it a shot. Notice how different you feel. Experiment with different time frames. We need to work with our natural rhythms.

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