Did you know that our brains are programmed to take a twenty-minute break after 90 minutes of intense focus or activity, according to psycho-biology researcher Ernest Rossi, PhD – a leading expert on ultradian rhythms and how they affect human biology? And taking that break is the most important thing you can do to optimize your energy and attention. Without getting too technical, it has something to do with our cells using up energy resources in that enable us to see and think clearly. We then begin accumulating stress-related chemicals that interfere with our thought processes. This build up occurs over 90-120 minute intervals and manifests as brain fog or being easily distracted. Taking a twenty-minute break allows your body to clear the metabolic wastes and replenish energetic stores. The result? You get your peak energy and performance levels back!
Here are five simple techniques to regain your peak energy and perform at your best:
- Plan for Buffer Time – Schedule time in your day for a little downtime every couple of hours instead of packing every minute. You will be more productive if you take a break than if you try to ‘power through it’.
- Shift Things Up – When you start to feel your energy wane, shift your focus to another task for twenty minutes or even take a walk around the building. It can allow a different part of your brain to work and rest that part that has used up energy resources.
- Stop and Smell the Roses – Pleasure signals a ‘go’ signal in our bodies, so doing something we enjoy can give us a boost. Hear some co-workers laughing in hall? Go join them for a moment and let your body and your brain rejuvenate a bit.
- Perform Random Acts of Kindness – Studies at the University of Michigan show that we get a ‘helpers high’ from doing things for others. It releases feel-good endorphins into our brains and bloodstream, relieving stress. Less stress means more productivity.
- Move It! – Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, MD, says that new studies show exercise stimulates a synapse-building protein that is like Miracle Grow for the brain. So take a break and run up and down the stair a couple of times instead of taking the elevator.