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When you’re very busy, it’s tempting to try to cram productive activities, like responding to email or thinking through decisions, into any small crack of time. This could be when you’re standing in line at the supermarket, waiting for a presentation to start, or in the five minutes between finishing one thing and joining a meeting. When you’re slammed, it can seem essential to work during these moments.
However, you can try not to fill every minute; save small scraps of time for mental rest.
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Many of us go through periods when we have to work intense and long hours and get very little time for rest. While this kind of overwork is not ideal, there are undoubtedly situations in which it becomes a necessity or makes sense.
You can buffer yourself against the stress of feeling rushed and overloaded if you recurrently pair simple sources of pleasure with particular activities you’re not as excited to do. Pair pleasure experiences, like a favorite snack, with ones that feel more stressful.
Compartmentalize: When engaged in tasks or parts of tasks you actually enjoy, make sure to focus on them exclusively.
Premack’s principle: Use an easier behaviour like running an errand as a reward for a harder behaviour like writing a complex report.
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