You spend ten hours a day crunching numbers, making graphs with Excel and using widgets and software apps until it feels like you’ve turned electronic yourself. Business tools are a means to an ends, but you’re counteracting everything you work for if you don’t take care of the most valuable tool in your toolkit: your mind. Whether you’ve been tasked with a new website interface or you’ve got to provide custom packaging for a new fleet of smartphones, your boss, customers, and clients will all benefit from you being sane. Here are a few ways to keep from going postal on the job:
Talk to artificial intelligence. No, this is not a euphemism. If you have Siri on your smartphone, use it to organize your day so that when you get out of work you can optimize your free time. Plan tomorrow’s meetings, schedule business lunches, send texts and emails while you’re in the bathroom. Or, if you want a more entertaining to jaunt into the world of AI, have a little chat with Cleverbot. It’s not Watson, but it may be a bit more conversational.
Read an article that is the complete polar opposite of your work. If you work at a financial institution, read an article about solar flares. If you work at a marketing firm, read an article about native bark. Develop software algorithms? Read about word associations. The idea here is to stimulate your mind and creativity and give yourself a break from your normal focus. Sometimes it’s necessary. Ever hear the phrase “a watched pot never boils?” This applies to utilizing the mind too. If you sit at your desk waiting for the right idea, it may never come. Feeding your imagination helps to sharpen your critical thinking skills.
Take a stretch/meditation/yoga break. Clearing your mind and rejuvenating your body is an important part of getting through your workday. Stretching, meditating, striking a yoga pose, or even going for a quick jog are all great ways of clearing the cobwebs and finding a synergy between your mind and body.
Take a nap. You don’t have to go George Costanza-style and build a bed underneath your desk, but a midday power-nap can be the difference between a productive afternoon and a miserable descent into delirium. The human mind does not function well when sleep-deprived, so you should not entrust it to handle complex operations off five hours of sleep. Simply grabbing 15 minutes of shuteye can recharge your batteries and set you back on track.
Work isn’t necessarily supposed to be fun, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re going to lose it. No matter what industry or line of business you’re in, it’s critical that you practice mind-soothing techniques to maximize your productivity and streamline your work ethic.