Some very simple and useful tips by Tony Schwartz, author of Be Excellent at Anything, from Harvard Business Review:
Human beings aren’t meant to operate like computers — at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. We’re designed to be rhythmic, and to intermittently renew. Here are the six strategies we’ve found work best:
1. Make sufficient sleep your highest priority: Far too many of us buy into the myth that one hour less of sleep allows us one more of productivity. In fact, even very small amounts of sleep deprivation significantly undermine capacity for focus, analytic thinking and creativity. The research is clear: more than 95 per cent of us require 7-8 hours of sleep in order to be fully rested, and for our brains to optimally embed new learning. Great performers, ranging from musicians to athletes, often get even more than 8 hours. [Related post]
2. Take a renewal break at least every ninety minutes: It’s now how long you work that determines the value you produce, but rather the energy you bring to whatever hours you work.The first key is to intermittently quiet your physiology. You can dramatically lower your heart rate, your blood pressure and your muscle tension in as little as 30-60 seconds with regular practice. With your eyes closed, try breathing in through your nose to a count of three, and out through your mouth slowly to a count of six. In this way, you’re extending your recovery. As your body quiets down, your thinking mind will also get quieter and you’ll feel more relaxed.
3. Keep a running list of everything that you want or need to do: The more fully and frequently you download what’s on your mind, the less energy you’ll squander in fruitless thinking about undone tasks, and the more energy you’ll have to be fully present in whatever you’re doing. Continue reading