Getting Back to Work

Many of my clients have a hard time getting back to work after a much deserved work break. And I may have that tendency sometimes myself, though a few changes have drastically reduced those times.

Taking work breaks

Work breaks are extremely important to keep your energy up. Most people can’t concentrate more than 90 minutes. Some have a hard time staying focused for 15 minutes. Your vision gets a little cloudy. Your mind wanders off onto evening plans. You read the same paragraph for the 7th time. Yes, it is definitely time for a break to renew your energy and your focus. And sometimes when you are working on a creative project and get stuck, you need time to relax in order for your creativity flow to return.

Here are some examples of breaks to take:

http://lifedev.net/2008/04/howto-take-work-breaks-at-the-office/

Photo by Frenkieb

Now get back to work

But, once you are lanquid and relaxed it may be hard to get back into work mode. 

"You lazy bum, get to back to work!" Using willpower and yelling at yourself to buckle down rarely works.  Especially for the long term. It’s best to let your environment make things easier for you.

  • Use a timer. I like using Work Rave to remind me to take my breaks and remind me to get back to work. This is another timer people like.
  • You can also write down what you want to accomplish and by when to get into into work mode: http://www.marktaw.com/getbacktowork.htm
  • I get most of my news and blog reading from Google Reader that prevents a lot of wandering off to other news and sites.
  • Here is a software that will block certain sites during certain times:
    http://lifehacker.com/374812/save-yourself-from-time-sinks-online-with-leechblock
  • Get away from your desk for breaks, so when you go back to your desk you feel in the work zone. If you work at a desk, then spend all your break time surfing the net, surfing mode feels a lot like work mode.
  • Use a post it note to write down exactly where you left off so when you return your note brings your mind back quickly to the task.
  • Stop in the middle of the project so you have momentum to continue after the break, instead of cold starting another project.
  • Clear your desk before you leave for your break of everything except your current project. Your desk will then invite you back.
  • Sometimes excess break time just means you don’t need to work as many hours as you do. You might find if you come in later or leave work earlier you will get more done.

How do you get back to work?

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