Sometimes we need to be unproductive to be productive

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Despite all the modern time management strategies and tools to help us work smarter, people constantly tell me they are tired, exhausted and overwhelmed.  They can’t keep up with the pressures of modern-day living.

It’s like we are always “on” and have no idea how to hit the off switch – we don’t even know there is one!

In Australia we work 3.2 billion hours a year in unpaid overtime, we have 134 million days of accrued annual leave and 3.8 million of us don’t take lunch breaks.  And 7.4 million Australians don’t get enough sleep.

We seem to have become “rest resistant”. We are addicted to being busy and it’s preventing us from getting the rest we need to perform at our best.

Wellbeing and productivity adviser Thea O’Connor reminds us, “The simple fact is, if you don’t give your brain a break, you’ll start to work more slowly and you’ll make more errors.”

The irony? In order to be more productive when we really need it, we have to have times when we are unproductive and switch off.

In my new book, The 1 Day Refund (you can pre-order your copy here), I talk about the need to give ourselves a 15% buffer in our day that gives a bit of breathing space.  It’s not much time.  10 mins in an hour or 1.2 hours in a day.  Could you protect that time to give yourself a bit of space?

So, the simple prescription for the tired, exhausted and overwhelmed is to take a 10-minute break every hour.  Stare at the sky, or do whatever you need to, to give your brain a rest.  Do it.  I dare you!

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