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How to use a day off from work to recharge your energy, focus & motivation

Catch up on that one thing

Most of us put off tasks that stress us out. Unfortunately, this avoidance kicks off a cycle of procrastination that just causes more stress

Instead, committing to crossing one of them off of your to-do list on a day off can improve your overall well-being.

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How to use a day off from work to recharge your energy, focus & motivation

How to use a day off from work to recharge your energy, focus & motivation

https://blog.rescuetime.com/day-off-recharge-focus/

blog.rescuetime.com

8

Key Ideas

Benefits of taking time off

People who create a proper work-life balance experience less work-related fatigue, lower rates of procrastination, and even better mental and physical health.

Time away from work improves problem-solving skills and improves creativity.

Taking time off

It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to get the most from a day off and feel rested and restored for coming back to work is to do more with your time, not less.

Binge-watching TV can make you feel more anxious, stressed, and impact your sleep.

Do nothing (on purpose)

Purposeful idleness is no small task. A few tips:

  • Start with small sessions and take the time to build up your endurance.
  • To help you do nothing, keep your devices out of reach (or out of the room) and re-orient your furniture away from the TV and out a window.
  • Try open-ended toys or games like kinetic sand that promote idleness.

Engage in “Deliberate Rest”

It means engaging with restful activities that are often vigorous and mentally engaging.

Deliberate rest activities help you relax and recharge as they focus on something tangential (or completely unrelated) to your work. Examples: playing chess, painting, editing photos, etc.

Tasks you;re putting off

Committing to crossing one of them off of your to-do list on a day off can improve your overall well-being.

Whether you’ve been putting off answering an email, calling a friend, writing up your personal budget, or anything else, a day off is a great time to catch up.

Do nothing (on purpose)

Too many of us equate doing something with being busy. We don’t need to fill every moment of our lives—both at work and at home—being productive. 

Engaging in doing nothing can help you be more creative. It can also make you more productive and focused when you return to work as you’ve had time to get out of your head, disconnect, and see the bigger picture.

Engage in “Deliberate Rest”

Deliberate Rest means engaging with restful activities that are often vigorous and mentally engaging.

For example, Winston Churchill and Victor Hugo painted while Leo Tolstoy played chess.

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Why we don't take time off

  • We think more work should equal more output: we see productivity not as doing more with less. But simply doing more.
  • We’re afraid of being “left behind”:  not only could we miss out on some important conversation, but we worry that we’ll be left behind.
  • Work has become a larger part of our identity: we feel personally connected to the work we do. Taking time away opens up all sorts of questions that can be hard to face. 

Deliberate rest

It is a play on the term “deliberate practice” and it means engaging with restful activities that are often vigorous and mentally engaging.

It is not a continuation of work, but a way to find activities that let you recharge from your workday, while still being mentally productive.

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Personal Productivity Curves

A lot of the internal things that affect our productivity are out of our control. Our energy, focus, and motivation follow their own path or “productivity curve” throughout the day. 

Energy curves

We’re naturally more energetic and motivated at specific times of the day. Researchers call this our Circadian Rhythm. Every person’s rhythm is slightly different, but the majority follow a similar pattern.

  • Waking up. Our energy levels start to naturally rise.
  • Around 10 am. We’ve hit our peak concentration levels that start to decline and dip between 1-3 pm.
  • Afternoon.  Our energy levels rise again until falling off again sometime between 9–11 pm.
90 Minute Cycles

We work best in natural cycles of 90-120 minute sessions before needing a break. When we need a break, our bodies send us signals, such as becoming hungry, sleepy, fidgeting, or losing focus.

If you ignore these signs and think you can just work through them, your body uses your reserve stores of energy to keep up. It means releasing stress hormones to give an extra kick of energy.

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Habits Are Not Blind Routines

Conventional wisdom states that strong habits improve our productivity. Daily habits done in an autopilot mode are not the only route to peak performance.

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Revisit What You Do Daily
  • Some of our daily to-dos should not require a constant daily effort and could be optimized further. Look for such habits and if the daily effort is straining you, look for other innovative solutions.

  • Time and Energy are limited resources, and as we grow, our habits may become obsolete. We could use the same time and energy to explore new and better options.

  • It is a good idea to pay attention to where we spend our time and see if there is something we do daily but have outgrown long ago.

Consistency and Boredom

Being consistent can also lead to burnout and lack of growth, and to be creative and innovative, we sometimes need a break from our daily activity. When we stop and do something new, we start to be part of a creative process, instead of simply repeating the same thing every day.

The key is to not rely on a rigid consistency but to be resilient enough to withstand any breaks. Our resilient habits are usually the old ones and have some psychological rewards while involving some external accountability. 

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