Tips for Smart Work
Take more breaks
In one of my favorite books, Stephen Covey tells a story about a woodcutter whose saw gets more blunt as time passes and he continues cutting down trees. If the woodcutter were to stop sawing, sharpen his saw, and go back to cutting the tree with a sharp blade, he would actually save time and effort in the long run.
The analogy is an easy one to remember but harder to put into practice. Heres what Covey says about sharpening the saw in our lives:
Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have you. It means having a balanced program for self renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Sharpening the saw is a great habit to get into in all areas of our lives, but I think it can be especially beneficial when it comes to work and helping us avoid burnout.
On average our brains are only able to remain focused for 90 minutes; then we need at least 15 minutes rest. (The phenomenon is based on ultradian rhythms.) By taking period breaks roughly every 90 minutes you allow your mind and body to renew and be ready to fire off another 90 minute period of high activity.
For some people, 15 to 20 minute breaks might be tough to pull off, but taking short breaks throughout the day can still help you to refresh your mind and reset your attention span.