“So how’s work been?” your friend asks. You give the stock standard response… “Busy!” We live in a world where more must be done in less time. Since there are only 24 hours in every day, we often sacrifice sleep, family, and other activities that make life worth living. Ironically, there are ways to increase your productivity by spending more time on non-work activities. I present to you the “Three Essential Time Management Paradoxes!”
#1 of 3 Time Management Paradoxes: Sleep an Extra Hour per Day
When we have too much work to do, sleep is often first on the chopping block. This is a BIG mistake. If you are not getting your body’s optimal amount of sleep regularly, your work efficiency will suffer. When tired, 10 minute tasks take 30 minutes to accomplish. We make more mistakes which cost more time to correct. Fatigue prompts more and longer coffee breaks. One extra hour of sleep daily can abolish much of these inefficiencies, improve our moods, and increase our work performance. If you are lacking concentration and energy, make a point today to have 8-9 hours of sleep every night (depending on your individual requirements).
#2 of 3 Time Management Paradoxes : Take a 15 Minute Nap at Midday
It seems today that most western cultures look down on napping because it implies laziness. In my humble opinion, it is more of a practical tool for increasing efficiency. Countries throughout Mediterranean & Southern Europe, South America, and Asia are historically known for using naps as a way of increasing afternoon productivity. In Australia, we have seen many ad campaigns vouching “power naps” for long-distance drivers, as 15 mins of shut-eye can bring an extra few hours of safe driving. If your workplace (and your body) permits, a quick nap during your lunch break can be one way of supercharging your afternoon productivity.
#3 of 3 Time Management Paradoxes: Exercise 30 mins Every Day
There are numerous studies on the benefits of regular exercise. Physical activity improves our moods, clarity of thought, and energy levels. If you don’t have a regular exercise regime, the Australian Department of Health recommends 4 hours of moderate, purposeful exercise per week (2 hours if intensive).* My personal recommendation is to engage in an activity that fits one or more of these criteria:
- It’s fun (so you are motivated to keep doing it)
- It involves other people (to keep you accountable)
- It can be done regardless of the weather (so you have no excuses!)
Since we are not able to increase the number of hours in a day, we must be more efficient with the time we have. Rather than robbing our lives of its pleasures, spending more time in rest and exercise can paradoxically increase our productivity. Give it a try, and let us know how you go!
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