The №1 Secret to Lifelong Productivity
Take a Break, Productive Break.
We all do physical activities. Some of us play sports, some of us work out in a gym.
We realize the need for physical activities to keep ourselves in check.
I enjoy running.
We all have run in our lives. While some do it regularly and some don’t.
What happens if you keep running continuously?
Take a pause to think.
What happens when you keep exerting yourself continuously?
Muscles, they tear.
There’s a limit to how much you can exert yourself physically.
Repetitive movements lead to overexertion that eventually leads to muscle tear over a period of time. The effects compound.
The same thing happens with your brain.
We live in an age where large quantities of the work produced are digital. Long durations of our lives are spent online.
Freelancers, Remote Workers, Writers, Content Creators, Researchers, Software Engineers, Students, and so on.
Fueled by COVID-19, the demand for online presence is increasing and will continue to rise in the future.
More time on the internet means more distraction, especially when the best behavioral scientists have designed social media to hook you when you want an escape.
The desire for escapism and passing time is one of the major predictors of why you get addicted to social media like Facebook.
But why six reasons? What are the other five?
Well, according to an article published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, the main reasons for Facebook use that eventually leads to addiction are our inner desires for exhibitionism, companionship, and relationships maintenance.
All of these desires are what social media sites capitalize on.
But What’s Wrong With Using Social Media?
I feel connected with people.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with conscious use of social sites.
In this digital age, you can leverage the use of social sites for your own benefit.
It is no longer a hidden fact that social sites are distracting. They feed on your focus, attention span, and productivity. There’s always a lot going on while you are looking the other way.
If you are in a profession that requires tons of undivided attention, you should avoid addictive sites while working or learning something.
Your time and attention are limited. Use them wisely and you can unlock the true potential of your work like Elon Musk and Bill gates using Timeboxing.
Timeboxing is a discipline where you dedicate your time session to one particular task. For example: As a writer, I want to be writing and editing this article for the next 30 minutes, brainstorming, and structuring ideas.
Everyone has a priority task that requires their full attention.
There’s an Italian Tomato sauce recipe that you can use to timebox your sessions. It’s called Pomodoro Technique.
Adding a Pomodoro sauce to your daily slice of pizza, called time will eventually make your day delicious.
Just like the fact that your muscles are built during rest, with a healthy workout, your productivity is built during break sessions.
Here’s a step by step guide on how you can use Pomodoro:
- First, decide on a priority task for the day.
- Break the task (or multiple tasks) into smaller sub-tasks.
- Focus on one task at a time.
- Now, set a timer for 25 minutes (however not limited to).
- Work on only one task during the time interval.
- Now that you have completed the session, you deserve a nice little break 🤗
- Set a timer for a break. In a traditional Pomodoro session, it’s 5 minutes but personally, I take a 10-minute break.
- Congratulations, you completed your Pomodoro session.
- Repeat this until you productively complete all your tasks.
Just like muscles are built during sleep, the focus muscle is built during rest.
Your brain is a muscle that also needs some time to cool down and re-energize itself so you can get more work done.
If you are a student, researcher, or someone who is constantly learning, I advise you to take a break.
Your mind is constantly processing information that needs to be transferred from your working memory into long-term information. Taking a break can help you maximize the results.
I Understand My Habits Are a Mess, But How Do I Build A New Habit? I have to Constantly Be Aware of Pomodoro. And That’s a Hassle Again.
You can pick productive habits the same way you picked unproductive habits.
While you were looking the other way. When you had to spend the least amount of effort to do so.
I recommend using Monkai.
Yeah, it sounds like an evolved version of a monkey.
Monkai is a free, easy-to-use chrome extension, that helps me schedule customizable Pomodoro sessions with much-needed breaks.
While distraction comes with a price, being productive is free.
You still have to put in the work though.
My idle time was filled with social media. Constantly being on social media during working hours added no value to my life while robbing me of my focus.
I was having a tough time because I didn’t have a system in place.
Building habits is easier when you are looking the other way, when you don’t have to think about something, it becomes a part of your identity.
Social Media Addict wasn’t something I cherished or was proud of.
If you have followed my previous articles, you will realize how I have been experimenting with productivity.
The journey is easier when you don’t have to worry about building a habit.
Again, Monkai has been a part of this journey. I can now block my Facebook newsfeed during my work hours.
The attempt of unblocking these sites is the time where I question myself.
Why did I start this?
Questioning yourself helps you stay focused without putting in the time and effort.
As a freelancer, software engineer, reader, writer, and learner, I understand the value of building a consistent system to maximize your returns in a short amount of time.
The breaks are where I take a pause to think and analyze things while keeping away from distractions.
Trust me I have never been happier in my life.
Ending this article with a favorite quote of mine.
“Discipline with your work and time gives you freedom to live an enriching experience in other areas of your life” — Life is a Special Operation
If you like my articles, be sure to follow me for more content. If my articles have a positive impact on your life, I’d love it if you could buy me a delicious cup of coffee.
Have a Great Time!