It’s easy to feel overwhelmed like there is never enough time in the day. It’s also easy to feel so under-stimulated that every minute has turned into an hour. When you’re really lucky you might get a mix of the two.
I myself have been through days where it feels like I can’t stop checking my phone and any app that updates. I am literally no good to anyone besides being there to answer questions. Then I’ve also had days where I have so much work being thrown at me I wind up, guess what? Doing the same damn thing. Not working, not being productive, just sitting on my phone looking through old photos on Instagram. What the hell does my brain think it’s doing?!
The brain gets exhausted. It doesn’t even want to think about doing anything (and it has to do vital things like breathe, swallow, interpret what you’re seeing, etc).
So how do you push your brain harder to finish what you need to?
The answer is. you don’t. You need to give yourself time to breathe. You can’t focus or can’t get started? Okay, that is fine. Don’t even worry about it. Don’t even start it. Give yourself no less than 7 minutes to fool around on your phone or walk around and chat with a co-worker. There is a reason your brain doesn’t want to work. It needs a break. Just make sure you come back once you’re feeling a bit more energized.
Optimal Productivity can be achieved. But all of us, including our bosses, need to realize an 8-hour work day just isn’t ideal. I know I sound like a slacker here, but some of the best companies are allowing their employees to nap, play games, etc. Everything they need to be happy, less-stressed, less-fatigued, and more productive. Happy = Productive.
According to thought leader Dr. Travis Bradberry, Coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “The 8-hour workday was created during the industrial revolution as an effort to cut down on the number of hours of manual labor that workers were forced to endure on the factory floor. This breakthrough was a more humane approach to work two hundred years ago, yet it possesses little relevance for us today.”
And he’s right. Think about all the cool and innovative stuff we’ve been able to achieve... and guess what? The people creating these things are working where they want and when they want. Many amazing products are coming from people who are often working remotely in the comfort of their homes, sometimes taking naps in the middle of the day or working only a few hours at a time.
Allowing your brain to rest keeps you productive. Have you ever tried to work through a day where you were dead tired? When you are energized and awake, you are ready to tackle things harder and quicker. When you’re dragging… well we all know how it goes when you’re dragging.
Billy Z Duke, a computer professional, internet programmer, and contributor to Quora (where we found him) says the 40 hour work week is lie. It is never really 40 hours. You spend time getting to work, coming home from work, and then are expected to stay on the premises for 40 hours whether you are engaged and productive or not. In the meantime, while internal meetings are happening or people are trying to gather the information you need to work or assignments you should be working on, you are chained to your desk and unable to be productive. You aren’t even allowed to use your own down time for your own purposes, instead you are supposed to maintain an illusion that you are being productive, which is often the most disheartening and exhausting task of all.
“I believe it's high time we reconsider this entire system. History shows that as time passes and technology moves forward, we have worked fewer hours, but for most of the 20th century, and now into the 21st, we're stuck on 40, for no real reason I can see. I am fighting firmly on the side of life in the work/life balance debate. I want my life back.”