The material and contents of this post are for informational purposes only and are designed to provide helpful advice on the subjects discussed. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical or emotional condition, please consult your physician, mental health professional, or other qualified health provider.
Is it just me or is coming back to work from a long weekend or vacation so darn difficult? It’s hard to find motivation to get back into the groove. Coming off of the Fourth of July holiday I got to thinking some of my therapist- approved (😉) tips may be helpful!
Seriously. Bear with me here. Optimal brain performance occurs when you give your brain time to recover. (That’s why sleep is so important.) During the day, try to give yourself a breather every 40-60 minutes. Ideally, you’d go take a walk or do something creative, but for most of us that’s not an option. (Optimally the ratio is a 17 minute break for every 52 minutes of work… show your boss this study 😉). Even just a quick bathroom break complete with MINDFULLY washing your hands is enough to reset your brain to get back in the game.
How to mindfully wash your hands: Allow the water to wash over you and really pay attention to how it feels. Notice the temperature. Notice the way it trickles over your fingers. Do the same with the soap and rinsing process. Mindfulness is about being completely present with what you’re doing, even the most mundane tasks.
Trip up your routine
As we develop, our brain makes new connections all the time. It’s easy to see in a toddler. They will understand new concepts, words, and tasks almost daily but as we get older that process tends to slow down a bit. You can help your brain make new connections in many ways, but for the sake of what we are looking at today, try changing your methods of daily tasks, even if they’re working. For example, if you ordinarily come in to your office and check your email first, maybe instead check voicemail or start a to-do list. You can also try driving a different route or even switch the order of how you do your makeup or morning grooming routine. Making these small changes encourages new connections to be made (neuroplasticity) and ultimately can help you be more productive and flexible throughout the day.
Practice positive psychology
There’s a ton of research to support the idea that we have the power to encourage ourselves enough to make real changes within. If you lead a team, practice this in leadership. What are your team members’ strengths? Tell them! Put them on assignments on which they will excel. If you’re a loan wolf, do some self-talk. What did you accomplish yesterday? In what areas are you kicking ass today? Focusing on strengths and ways to improve rather than the failures or missteps makes you more likely to succeed. Seemingly unrelated (but I promise it is!), practicing altruism, doing for others, will also boost productivity. You may have heard of large companies doing group volunteer work as part of the employees’ hours on the clock. It’s not just to help the community, but also to help the employees perform better. Sneaky, right? Effective!
Hope this is helpful! I’ve included some links if you want to read further. Never hesitate to ask if you have questions!
More information on neuroplasticity:
More information on positive psychology
Or this book