How To Recharge Your Mind For Increased Productivity
It is very hard to achieve a good work-life balance, but I believe this one change in my mindset about “recharging the batteries” made a huge difference in my life.
Kristian, the CEO of Luxafor, is sharing his tips on overcoming mental fatigue and burnout by recharging more.
Would you ever feel bad for charging your phone when the battery is low? Of course not. So why would you feel bad for recharging your own battery when you need it?
If you continue to use your body on “low battery”, some “energy saving” (brain capability saving) features will kick in. And all that effort you think you’re putting in will inevitably lead to the world of stress and burnout, or “dead battery” on your phone. You should not feel bad for your downtime, as it is a crucial part of being overall healthy and productive.
The importance of downtime
With taking up more and more responsibilities at work, I realized that I felt bad after binge-watching Netflix series the whole weekend long or doing nothing at all… So I would promise myself to rather work next time I wanted to recharge, especially if it meant “doing nothing”.
As “doing nothing” has never really been accepted, most of us associate it with irresponsibility, wasting our life. Most of us feel guilty if we don’t have something to do. Or if we do something that is not work-related.
But despite these social opinions being pushed on us, it is super-important to have your downtime, relax and recharge. Working non-stop has never led anyone to high success, it only accelerates the speed of reaching burnout. You don’t want that, do you?
Don't beat yourself up!
My most valuable productivity advice to you is this: DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP! Don’t feel bad for relaxing, don’t feel bad for going out with friends you haven’t seen in years, and don’t feel bad for eating that brownie after your main course. Don’t feel bad for laying in bed the whole weekend. Don’t beat yourself up for doing something that makes you happy in your free time!
Start enjoying your downtime and appreciating the opportunity to recharge your batteries, even if it means not doing anything at all. This is a tricky one to achieve, but it becomes so much easier when you have people to share with. Read on to find out how I and my team remember to take some time off work!
Three ways we praise downtime in the workplace
1) Recharging stories on Monday mornings
Once I realized how important it is to relax, I started proudly telling my friends and some colleagues what I had done on the weekend. Even if I had stayed in front of my TV the whole time, I told people that’s exactly what I did to recharge.
Soon I noticed more and more employees chatting about their weekend experiences. It became a natural thing for us to share what we had done in our free time, and I noticed an overall happier mood in the office.
So I implemented short, but valuable Monday morning meetings as an experiment. For the first 30 minutes of our Monday meetings, everyone gets to share their weekend relaxation stories – who read the latest book, who left the kids with their parents and finally slept in late, who watched all Games of Thrones seasons, who ran a marathon…
We all have very different things that make us happy, but what connects us is being human and remembering that your free time is well-earned and yours to use however you wish.
Since this is the way we start our week, I believe the productivity levels have risen through the ceiling. We have built a strong community of proud and happy human beings. who appreciate recharging. We all have this superpower of making each other infected with happiness and thus leading to more efficient work.
“I always look forward to our Monday morning meetings, as they start with sharing our stories. This is like a strong support group we have built for each other. Doesn’t feel like your typical meeting… It feels like talking to family.”
/Anna, a proud recharger and a happy human from Luxafor Team/
2) Encourage breaks
One more thing I used to do a lot was not get up from my work desk for hours on end. I just thought if I don’t take breaks, I can get more done.
But there isn’t necessarily a relationship between working hard and working smart. In fact, a workaholic environment may contribute to serious personal and mental health problems including low morale, depression, substance abuse, workplace harassment, relationship breakdown, and above-average absenteeism.
Once I acknowledged this mistake, I started taking a break every once in a while and realized I could get more done right after these short breaks. I guessed my brain needs some sort of “refresh page” mode for a short time and I was good to go full power again.
And guess what else I noticed while on my short breaks? That almost no one in the office was taking them. I felt like it was my fault, as I am the leader and others see me as an example…
BOOM – another implementation took place: I made taking breaks mandatory. As hard as it was for some (including myself) at the beginning, we finally came to the conclusion that we really need to take breaks more often.
Of course, finding a way to remind ourselves to do that was the hardest part. So we did this by following the Pomodoro technique, and you can read all about it here. As long as you eliminate any distractions for your Pomodoro sessions, you should be able to accomplish more and then take a break.
Also, we have a beautiful dog Lote coming to the office every day (you might have seen her on our Twitter feed before). Recently she has taken up the position of CCO (Chief Officer of Cuteness) in our company. And with all that cuteness, she reminds us to take breaks and actually move around a bit to play with her or take her out for a walk.
So another way to make sure you take breaks would be to have pets in your office. If implementing a pet-friendly policy feels like a very drastic change, consider a “take-your-pet-to-work” day first and see where it goes from there.
3) Practice mindfulness
Be mindful and you’ll always feel and see something, and the word “nothing” will disappear from your dictionary. Therefore, you will technically never beat yourself up for doing nothing. And by “be mindful” I don’t mean working nonstop for 9 hours and then doing some meditation for 5 minutes. It might help, but as little as a band-aid would help a broken limb.
Once I started practicing mindfulness through breathing exercises regularly, I noticed myself becoming calmer and more appreciative of recharging time.
And of course, me being me, I had to test this on my team. How?
By telling everyone on Monday that I had started to do breathing exercises and meditation. Many of them asked me how it was and I gave them all the information I had collected. Now I can proudly say that we have become more mindful of ourselves, the tasks at hand, and each other. This makes us a super-duper happy and productive team who never regrets recharging ourselves.
Ever so often I still have to remind myself I am just human, I need my own “recharge” time. For me, it is going to the park and reading a book or staying at home and binge-watching Netflix series all weekend long. For you, it might be that hobby you haven’t picked up for years in fear of feeling guilty afterward.
Find what works for you, even if it is the oh-so-scary “doing nothing”, do it proudly and later on share your story with others. The more we will talk about the importance of recharging, the bigger the possibility of the world becoming a happier, more balanced place.
I really hope our experience will inspire you to recharge more often and will never beat yourself up for recharging your batteries.