I received lots of comments from last week’s RW regarding Time and Priorities. It seems that the idea that we beat ourselves up about not having “enough time,” resonated with many readers and that by reframing that message as a need to clarify our priorities, we usually serve ourselves better.

Another way to think about productivity is the evolving neuroscience research about work and rest. Studies tells us that our bodies and minds run in a 90-minute cycle from a state of alertness to fatigue regularly during our day. We usually power through low time with caffeine, sugar or our own stubbornness about not giving into our natural rhythms.

I discovered this phenomenon in graduate school when I recognized that I was able to get more writing done working in 3- 90-120 minute work sessions (with breaks in between) than I could if I just sat at my desk for 3 hours. With the latter approach, I would often wind up doodling time away as I had difficulty focusing on the work at hand. Today these extended sessions usually wind up on Facebook or Twitter.

In our resilience model this is our recovery phase that allows us to replenish the energy that is naturally spent during work. We can model renewal from our experiences at kindergarten where recess involved resting for a few minutes, going out into the playground to play or having a healthy snack. Recess only lasted a few minutes but recharged our energy so we could get back to being productive as a 5 year old (whatever that was!)

Like time, our energy is finite but unlike time, energy is renewable. Being mindful about how your energy flows during the day will help you keep more of it for yourself.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2017


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