More and more people are beginning to explore the minimalistic, simplistic side of productivity to try and find a style of working which is less taxing, but more efficient. Less is More. Normally, we associate increased productivity and results with extra hours at work. The more you work, the more you get done. Recent studies however have shown that the key to increased productivity might not always be working more, but working less. The simpler, hassle free path to life can help you get the desired results, while maintaining health and peace of mind. Here are some great ways to work simple, work less and transform your lifestyle:
It’s always quality, never quantity
What most employers forget in a bid to make their employees work hard for good results, is that the number of hours you work and the kind of results you get has the variable of value in between. You can work 5 hours a day and produce the same results as working 12 hours a day, because it’s not how many hours you work, but how much you work in those hours. Longer hours, more emails, multi-tasking, answering more phone calls might seem like a good idea to get more done, but that’s not the case. The human body needs equal amounts of work and rest to be able to maintain it’s ability to work efficiently. Start adding more value to your work. Keep phone calls to the minimum, designate a time to reply to emails and take regular breaks while working to prevent mental tiredness from setting in too early.
The 90 Minute Rule
Nathaniel Kleitman’s basic rest-activity cycle which most people associate with sleep patterns at night is also in fact equally applicable for the day. What it simply says is that the body goes 90 minute periods of alertness, beginning with a high level of alertness and then down after which our body needs a break. Increasingly, researchers have found that doing work in such 90 minute periods, followed by half hour to one hour breaks produces more results than working continuously all day. Working for more than 90 minutes tends to activate our stress hormones, and by overriding symptoms of fatigue, hunger, drowsiness etc. we start making use of these stress hormones to keep working. As a result, our prefrontal cortex begins to shut down, affecting clarity in thinking. The basic idea is to keep taking breaks every 90 minutes, and not resolve to caffeine or any stimulants to keep working. They do more harm than good to your productivity.
High intensity mornings
A great way of incorporating the 90 minute activity period rule into your working is by doing your most high intensity task in the morning. The first 60-90 minutes of your day should be spent working on this task, followed by a break of another 60 minutes. This is also called working in “sprints”. Of course, not everyone’s work allows them to take such “sprints” at regular intervals during the day, which is perfectly fine as long as the morning 90 minute sprint of uninterrupted high intensity work is followed religiously. Believe it or not, it will make your entire day more simplified and less hassled, because you’ve already dealt with the most pressing matters of the day right in the morning. Natural loss of alertness and energy during the day will not hinder productivity, since your tasks will not be as demanding as well. This method is easy to apply, and makes your day uncomplicated too.
Energy renewal breaks
Most of us would probably go for energy drinks to keep us going whenever we feel fatigued or drowsy at work. What we do not realize that instead of spending money on these drinks which contain massive amounts of sugar, all we need is a break away from our workstation, to take in some fresh air. To make up for hunger pangs, one can opt for fresh juice and a sandwich as well. These are better ways to take energy renewal breaks at work than rely on energy drinks and caffeine. Most energy drinks provide an instant boost of energy, but a little known fact is that they make you crash faster as well. Once the effect wears off, the body’s energy level hits rock bottom. This is unhealthy in more than one way, and should be avoided. Go easy on the breaks, don’t rush them in. No matter how busy your schedule, taking these breaks should never be compromised upon.
Use time well
If one is working less, but still managing get more done in a day, then their sense of achievement and overall satisfaction with themselves is high. Having more time on your hands also entails that you use it well. By working less hours, the extra time you get should be invested wisely for the whole exercise to count. What you do at work, and what you do outside it together make you the person you are. Spending more time with family and friends is a great way to make use of the extra time. Or, joining a hobby class, hitting the gym or even volunteering for community service are examples of how one can make use of the time at hand. The important thing is to feel content with what you are doing. If you find yourself wondering whether you in fact wasted your saved time, then you’re doing it wrong. Making time and resources count is the most powerful way of ensuring that you’re at your productive best at all times.