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Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love.
Now, if you want to be even more productive and feel less burned out at the end of each workday, this episode is going to show you how. Today’s question comes from Kelly who writes:
“Good day, Marie. I love your work and love B-School, so thanks for all that you do. Here’s my situation. I work full-time and I’m also a budding entrepreneur. My job hours are 2 to 10pm, so I get a good three hours most weekdays to work on my business, and I’m usually very productive. I recently took some time off thinking I’d be able to get even more done, however I only got in four solid hours before my creative brain seemed to run out of steam, and this happened the whole four days. Do you have advice on taking more effective breaks? Eventually I’d like to work solely on my business, but I’m afraid that I’d only be useful for half the day anyway. Thanks so much, Kelly.”
Kelly, I love this question. And I have to say, I love your business BentSentiments.com. I mean, Butch Please and Vegetarian Vagatarian. Now, there’s a restaurant.
Now, you know, Kelly. The fact that you found it difficult to stay productive on those four days that you had off doesn’t surprise me at all. You know, when we push ourselves and work really hard, like 10 to 14 hours a day consistently, fatigue tends to build up. And then once we do take a break, all that fatigue really starts to come to the surface and often we need longer times to recover.
You see, unlike computers, which are built to work at high speeds running multiple programs at once over long periods of time, we humans are not designed to work that way. In fact, bestselling author Tony Schwartz says this.
“A growing body of research suggests that we’re most productive when we move between periods of high focus and intermittent rest.”
That’s why it’s so important, Kelly, to intentionally take smart, effective breaks. Now, there is some interesting research around how to do this. Now, will these strategies work for everyone? Of course not. What works for one person may not work for you. However, these five steps that I’m about to share are a great starting point. And to make them easy to remember, I’ve created an acronym called RESET. R-E-S-E-T. You ready? Let’s do this.
Step number one, R stands for review your day and plan breaks in advance. Now, ideally you’re gonna plan your work day, including your break times, the night before. And if you haven’t seen my video about why planning your day the night before is so damn important, you need to watch that right after this one.
But here’s what you need to know. According to research, if you decide in advance where and when you’re going to take a specific action, you can double or triple your chances of meeting your goal.
Now, you might be asking how many breaks should you take and when? Here’s a good rule of thumb. Take a five to 15 minute break every 90 minutes of dedicated focus time.
Step number two stands for E, meaning make it easy to remember. So in other words, make taking breaks a no friggin’ brainer. Put them in your calendar, set up notifications, or set timers on your phone. Because if you’re anything like me, once you put your head down and you get into that focus zone, you can be in the cave for hours without ever looking up to like, I don’t know, eat or shower or pee. Personally, I’ve forgotten to do all of those things.
Step number three, S, stands for step away from the screen. So meaning during your breaks no email, no social media or web surfing. So put down your phone and close the damn computer. Why, you might ask? Well, a study done by researchers at the University of Illinois and George Mason found that: “reading websites and checking email taxes many of the same mental processes that we use when we’re actually working, which actually makes fatigue worse.”
So what should you do instead? Move on to step number four, which is: step four “exersate.” Meaning you need to exercise and hydrate. Now, I wanna talk about hydration first, because dehydration is debilitating. Studies at Yukon’s human performance laboratory showed that dehydration can negatively affect concentration, reaction time, memory, mood, and can cause headaches, fatigue, and anxiety.
So drink a big, tall glass of water, then do something to move your body. Get outside in nature, take a walk around the block, do some stretches. Or, heck, one of my favorites. Take a dance break.
In fact, Zach from Team Forleo has a simple five minute dance routine that he does at home and in the studio.
Seriously though, Harvard Business Review reports that exercise during your work day has benefits like improved concentration, sharper memory, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, lowers stress, and elevated mood.
Oh, my goodness. Zach. Did you memorize all of that?
Yup. Dance break!
Finally, step number five, T, stands for tune back in. So once you’ve walked or stretched or danced, take a few deep breaths and tune back into the project you were doing or the next project on your list. Remember, where attention goes energy flows. And what you want to do is redirect your cognitive energy back into focus mode.
Now for the RESET recap. Step number one is review your day and plan breaks in advance. Step number two is make it easy, as in easy to remember with simple alarms or notifications. Step number three, step away from the screens, my friends. Step number four is “exersate,” exercise and hydrate. And step number five is tune back in.
Now, truth be told, I have got so much more to say on this topic. We didn’t even talk about the power of naps or the power of meditation. But you’ve got more than enough to get yourself started. Now, if maximizing productivity and minimizing burnout is something that you want to learn more about, tell me in the comments below and I’ll make more shows about it.
That was my A to your Q, and I really do hope it helps. Now I want to hear from you. Whether you work with a team or you work for yourself, what are some strategies and insights that have helped you get more done in less time with less burnout? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Now, as always, the best conversations happen over at the magical land of MarieForleo.com, so head on over there and leave a comment now. Once you’re there be sure to sign up to our email list and become an MF Insider. You’re gonna get instant access to a powerful audio training I created called How To Get Anything You Want. It’s so good. You’re also gonna get exclusive content, special giveaways, and personal updates from me that I just don’t share anywhere else.
Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world really does need that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV.
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