Don’t underestimate the power of breaks
Taking breaks helps to refresh the mind, replenishes your mental resources and can help you to be more creative and solve problems more effectively. Get up and walk around, stretch or have a conversation with a co-worker. Studies shows that creative boosts or “aha moments” come more often to those who take breaks. One tip is to schedule regular breaks, similar to meetings, to establish a firm commitment to refreshing your mind throughout the day.
Schedule your day
According to author Dan Pink, there are hidden patterns in the day that can affect our mood and performance. His research shows that a person’s mood and concentration is at its peak in the morning with a low period in the afternoon before rebounding in the evening. Therefore you should schedule your most important, analytical tasks in the morning and more creative tasks in the afternoon. Also, save one fun task you may have for the afternoon to give you a little boost.
Get away from your desk at lunch
Not taking a break and eating your lunch at your desk is a recipe for disaster. Without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance can begin to suffer.
Use this time to recharge and de-stress for the rest of the workday. Need ideas of what to do?
- Go for a walk on campus, using one of the many indoor and outdoor walking paths at USask. Better yet, get a group of co-workers to join you.
- Start a knitting group, book or games club, or anything else that may interest you and your co-workers.
- Exercise or take a class at the PAC or Education gym.
- Find a sunny spot on campus to read or listen to a podcast. Did you know that your USask ID card is your library card?
Make lists for daily tasks
One of the more satisfying things you can do is to cross something off your to-do list. Make a list of things that you can accomplish in a day and cross them off once you have completed them. When you complete a task you will have a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness. This also motivates you to continue completing tasks to extend that feeling.
Listen to music
Music can help boost your mood, especially if you work in a noisy environment or at a computer all day. According to a LinkedIn study, 90% of workers perform better and 88% produce more accurate work when listening to music. When you listen to music, your brain releases dopamine, which helps improve focus. If working in a shared space, remember to be considerate to colleagues – headphones, if your work allows, at a safe volume is a good compromise.
Leave your work…at work
One of the best way to recharge mentally from work is to detach after the work day is over. It allows you to press the reset button on your brain and give your body a chance to repair itself from the effects of daily strain and tension.
- Write out tomorrow’s to-do-list before leaving for the day. That way you don’t have to spend energy at home trying to remember what you need to complete the next day.
- Have a ritual that marks the transition between work and personal life, something as simple as changing into comfortable clothes immediately after you get home.
- Use your commute to unwind from the day so that you can be stress-free once you get home.
- If possible, don’t check your work email outside of work hours. Also, don’t send emails outside of work hours or expect co-workers to respond.
- Learn how to say no. Sounds easier said than done, but setting boundaries with your boss about expectations will help you.