Just 80 seconds of mindfulness for optimum productivity.

By Amy Crawford

It's Wednesday morning, you're firing on all cylinders to get your day off to a productive start and I know you don't want to take a break right now.

Why? Because you're busy.

However, you happened to delve into your inbox and here you are, taking 5 to read this article. Is it because your focus shifted? Was it actually TIME to take this break?

Enter the notion of 45 minute working blocks for the ultimate in mindfulness and productivity.

There is a science behind productivity and it is cyclical. Did you know that your brain can really only focus well for a 90 minute period before it calls for a break? It comes down to the ultradian rhythm - a cycle that governs both our waking and sleeping lives.

Sleep researcher Nathan Kleitman first discovered this notion, entitling it the "basic rest-activity cycle". This is essentially a 90 minute cycle during which you progress through 5 stages of sleep. He went on to identify the same pattern in our waking lives too - as we move from states of increased to decreased alertness, or the ultradian rhythm.

Through studying people and productivity, researchers have broken this cycle down further. It is said that a short break at the 40-45 minute mark and/or a longer break after the full 90 minutes will do wonders in creating the most productive version of you.

It's a matter of simply checking in with yourself. So why not set a timer for 45 minute blocks to prompt you to check back in with your headspace? Once you understand your own cycle of productivity and focus, you can actually do better work. Taking mindful moments can be very strategic. I know some might look upon breaks as a lack of self discipline in the workplace, or even feel a sense of guilt around taking them. Don't. The fact is, these breaks needn't be long - they can be as short as 80 seconds of mindfulness (thanks Tetley!).

In writing this article I happened upon an article in the New York Times. Time Kreider writes about being stuck in "The Busy Trap":

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

This is what I like to do, but try to see if you can create your own schedule. What works for you?

Work for 45 minutes - take a quick 80 seconds of mindfulness break. ie. Get up, brew a cup of Tetley green tea. Take a deep breath.

Work for 45 minutes - take a quick 80 seconds of mindfulness break. ie. Walk around my desk, walk outside, stretch my legs.

Work for 45 minutes - take a longer break. ie. Eat morning tea, or lunch.


Resist the urge to work through your timer! I know you have a lot to do, however this break will help with that 'To Do' List, I assure you! 

What are you going to do on your break today?

*This is a sponsored post, however please know that we will only ever promote products or services that we believe will add value to the lives of our readers.



January 28 2015

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