The Effective Author: Get More Done by Taking Breaks
© 2018 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved. kebba.com
One of the great ironies of life is that we can actually get more done by taking breaks! A timer, movement, and napping may be your best tools to increase productivity. And who doesn’t love getting more done – by “trying” less each day?
To really benefit from your breaks, start by eliminating stalling with a timer. Consider how you may hate to sit down and actually get started, so you stall. That’s a huge way to rob your own productivity. Try this: find an analog kitchen timer (the twirl-the-dial kind), and set it for, say 45 minutes. This style of timer shows you how much time you have left out of your 45 minutes. But any countdown timer will do. From now on, you are only allowed to work for 45 minutes at a time!
Then you take 15 minutes for a break. Your brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC) literally needs a break, to process your thoughts, conclusions, and memories. So give it a chance to do that by trying any of the following pointers. Then re-set the timer and go for 45 minutes again.
The only exception you might make to stopping at the 45-minute mark is if you are in The Flow. Then you can “cheat” by enjoying your writing productivity awhile extra. If you go over your current timer period by, say, an extra 45 minutes, make your next break a double, or 30 minutes in duration.
Here are several of the easiest breaks you can take to achieve the greatest effects:
- Do something kinesthetic. Move! Stand up and stretch, roll your shoulders, or run in place for a couple of minutes. Bat a tennis ball, plant a few of those petunia sets, trim that front bush, handwrite a thank-you note, wash dishes by hand. Eat: get a healthy snack, brew a favorite beverage. Focus: look at things 100 to 300 feet away to refresh your eyes. If you have a garden, sit outside staring at the garden and beyond.
- Just walk. Some famous authors have walked a lot, including Dickens, Thoreau, Woolf, and Wordsworth. Also, a Stanford University study has shown that writers who walk are more creative than those who don’t. This goes for walking outside, inside, or even on a treadmill.
- Have a power nap. Studies show an afternoon nap can make you more alert, as well as improve your thought processes. Target 20 minutes, set a timer, and enjoy.
Try the systematic use of breaks for a week, and see how much more effective and competent you are. Admire your productivity and congratulate yourself: you’re The Effective Authorsm!
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, plus Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com. Kebba’s newest book is the full-color Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and Inspire, also available through her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: email@example.com.