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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Best Rest Practices for Optimal Productivity and Creativity | Jeffrey Davis, M.A., Psychology Today

We know taking breaks optimizes work-and-create flow. But what are the best practices and under what conditions? Some people advise mindful breaks. Others suggest full-blown hour-long naps. Much depends upon your circumstances and your desired ends.
After describing "an optimal work-and-create flow," creativity consultant Davis provides "a quick review of relevant studies" and his suggestions. You can read theuseful info about the studies in his article. But here are some of his "take-away" tips:

THE YOUTHFUL BRAIN IS FASTER BUT... not necessarily better 
 
Take-away:
If you’re middle-aged and blush because you seem to work more slowly, take heart. You’re likely working at far more effective, complex levels than your younger co-workers. It’s not only okay to take breaks during your work flow. It’s recommended if you want to perform at your best. 

BREAK WITH RHYTHM.

Take-away tips:
I recommend to clients they remove themselves from the work environment if possible.

For a corporate client, I recommended he schedule a walk to another part of his vast office quarters, glance out a floor-to-ceiling window, and then return to his office room, sit in a comfortable sofa normally reserved for clients, and remember the last time he was outdoors working on his ranch—one of his favorite activities.

Step outdoors if you can. ...

Or step away from your work space, and read four pages from a book that brings you delight.

If you can jog or bicycle for 20 minutes, even better—as you’re also increasing the chances of your hippocampus forging new neurons in your middle-aged gray matter ....

DISTRACTION CAN RE-BOOT LONG-TERM FOCUS.

Take-away tip:
Pay attention to when you need to introduce a quick second task. Maybe sending off an email or text message will free up mental bandwidth and get you re-committed to the high-thinking task. ...

THE FULL MONTE NAP:

Take-away:
When you can take an extended creative or working retreat such as an 48-hour in-house retreat, include an afternoon 90-minute nap. Then move from lounge to desk. ...

ENJOY YOUR EVENINGS.

Take-away tip:
Schedule non-digital time in the evenings, especially 45 minutes before sleep. Set up a bi-weekly schedule of evening rhythms: One Monday as “reading night,” One Tuesday as “date night,” et cetera. If you must work some evenings, schedule work evenings. Make them the exception instead of the rule. ...
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