The Secret to Staying Productive

prodAs a small-business owner you’re the HR specialist, chief marketing officer, sales director, customer-service manager—the list goes on. You put in 12 hours days (if you’re lucky) and think it’s just par for the course. But the question becomes, are you really being productive with your time?

If you are knee-deep in the day-to-day, you miss out on the opportunity to plan and strategize, and set the vision for the future of your business. So, what’s the secret to staying productive?

Not working harder!

To thrive, entrepreneurs need to take a step back to allow their bodies and minds to rest and recharge. The result? Better performance and focus!

Breaking bad habits:

Small business owners are celebrated for their hustle and hard work. But working without letup is a bad habit that can jeopardize your business, health, and the life you’re working towards. One of the biggest secrets to productivity is the refueling principle –> You get more done, quicker, when you step back to recharge.

Continuous time on-task sets off “strain reactions,” such as stress, fatigue and negative mood. This results in less focus and a drain on physical and emotional resources. Studies prove that performance increases after breaks, whether an extended vacation or micro-breaks of 30 seconds. In fact, one study found that the brain needs a break after 90 minutes, the length of the “basic rest-activity cycle.”

Conserve resources:

Your state of mind is all about the conservation of resources. Just like your body, if resources get depleted and are not replaced, you get sick. If you don’t make time for rest and play because you’re too caught up with work, the stress never gets relieved—resulting in a slew of potential issues including digestion problems. In fact, the hormones released by the fight-or-flight response set off by stress, such as cortisol and adrenaline, reduce immune function.

Time-off is medicine:

Time-off, on the other hand, is medicine. It allows us to get back in touch with who we are, prioritize and remember the real reason why we turned our passion into a business.

Taking breaks has been shown to cut the risk of a heart attack in men by 30% and 50% in women! Time-off cures burnout, the last stage of chronic stress. Once you’ve reached the burnout phase, it takes at least 2 weeks for the recuperative process to kick-in—who has two weeks to spare?!

The bottom-line:

If you make it a point to regularly replenish mental, emotional and physical resources through refueling, rest and recreational activities, you’re insuring that you can thrive through even the toughest times. It’s like a bank, and if you overdraw your resources, you’re spent.

How often do you take a break during your workday?

Check out our 10 easy ways to help you refresh and stay productive!


(Source: HBR Magazine 5/11; Entrepreneur Magazine, 10/14; 10/14; 5/22/14)

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