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The Secrets to Staying Productive When You Have a Big Project. Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find -- ScienceDaily. A new study in the journal Cognition overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. The study zeroes in on a phenomenon known to anyone who's ever had trouble doing the same task for a long time: After a while, you begin to lose your focus and your performance on the task declines. Some researchers believe that this "vigilance decrement," as they describe it, is the result of a drop in one's "attentional resources," said University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, who led the new study. "For 40 or 50 years, most papers published on the vigilance decrement treated attention as a limited resource that would get used up over time, and I believe that to be wrong.

You start performing poorly on a task because you've stopped paying attention to it," he said. "But you are always paying attention to something. A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17. Sometimes, productivity science seems like an organized conspiracy to justify laziness.

Clicking through photos of cute small animals at work? That's not silly procrastination, Hiroshima University researchers said. Looking at adorable pictures of kittens rolling helplessly in balls of yarn heightens our focus, and the "tenderness elicited by cute images" improves our motor function on the computer. Going on long vacations? Working from home? The scientific observation underlying these nearly-too-good-to-be-true findings is that the brain is a muscle that, like every muscle, tires from repeated stress.

So what's the perfect length for a break? DeskTime, a productivity app that tracks employees' computer use, peeked into its data to study the behavior of its most productive workers. Telling people to focus for 52 consecutive minutes and then to immediately abandon their desks for exactly 1,020 seconds might strike you as goofy advice. Perhaps managing our office energy is a lost art. You've Been Taking Breaks All Wrong. Here's How To Do It Right. Next time you’re plowing through a days-long pile of work, barely looking up from your computer, consider this: Breaks are scientifically-proven to boost focus and productivity. A 2008 University of Illinois study found that the brain’s attentional resources drop after a long period of focusing on a single task, decreasing our focus and hindering performance. But even brief diversions, the study found, could significantly increase one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods of time.

“Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable,” Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz wrote in the New York Times. “Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us. And although Schwartz was advocating for more vacations, the same could apply to breaks taken throughout the day. There’s no way to perform at your highest level without allowing time for rest. So why do we feel particularly taxed after working for a stretch of time? Step away from the screen — and move. Clear Apple. The Rule of 52 and 17: It's Random, But it Ups Your Productivity. Everyone has that person in the office. You know, the one who always seems to get way more done than everybody else, but who never seems stressed or frantically trying to finish an assignment.

How does he or she get it done? And can you steal those secrets to improve your own productivity? Yes. Yes you can. Using time-tracking and productivity app DeskTime, we’ve been able to study the habits of the most productive employees—and pinpoint the working flow that leads to that incredible ability to get things done. And the trick might surprise you. The employees with the highest productivity ratings, in fact, don't even work eight-hour days. The reason the most productive 10% of our users are able to get the most done during the comparatively short periods of working time is that their working times are treated as sprints.

Working with purpose can also be called the 100% dedication theory—the notion that whatever you do, you do it full-on. A person can't be 100% productive all day. 7 Ways Successful People Spend Their Free Time. When you think about professional success, you think about the strategies and behaviors that people exemplify when at work. You think about what people do during the 9-5 working hours, and whether they extend those hours by coming in early or staying late to tackle projects. What they do when they get home, or on weekends, when they're away from the office and away from their computers, doesn't enter your mind. But here's the thing: it should. How people spend their free time can actually have a big impact on their success in the professional world. Successful people tend to spend their free time in these seven ways (and more, of course), so read below and find out why: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

If you don't spend your free time like this, it doesn't mean you have no chance of being successful. Take a Break! It May Increase Productivity | Orca Health Decide. 21 Counter-Intuitive Break Ideas to Boost Your Productivity at Work. Every self-help program talks about the importance of taking a 10-15 minute break to boost your productivity. Breaks give us much needed time to rest our eyes, move around, stretch our stiff muscles, get more blood and oxygen flowing to our brain, to unwind and obtain a fresh outlook on complex work problems.

There is just one problem – we often forget to take them. (Note: Going to the bathroom, grabbing a cup of coffee or checking Facebook updates does not count, as these activities hardly give us enough time to energize our body and restore our concentration and productivity.) As strange as it may sound, taking regular breaks throughout the work day requires discipline and a little bit of planning. Actually, the reason why so many people push themselves to the limit of exhaustion is simple – they just can not think of any interesting activities they can do, during their break time. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Not as simple as it looked, right? 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time. If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use. Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time. Reading file. Got some productive spare-time tips of your own?

Read full content. 6 Reasons Why You Should Schedule Your Free Time - Endless Entertainment. Wait, isn’t that the wrong way to do it? Shouldn’t you be scheduling your work instead of your free time? Well yeah, that’s what most people do. It’s probably why 43% of Americans don’t really use up their vacation days. Who can take days off when you’re packed with work every single day? I propose that you take your life back and schedule your free time instead. Doing it is easy, in fact. But I’m sure that’s not what’s stopping you. 1) Free time becomes important to you and to others.

When you schedule what you do in your free time, you’re making that activity a priority and saying to yourself, “this is a good use of my time”. 2) You get more free time. How many times has silently work crept into your free time? 3) You’ll have something to look forward to after work. Personally, I like to schedule something I enjoy doing in my after-work free time. 4) Your free time will be put to better use. If you’ll notice, I didn’t mention watching TV or browsing Facebook as free time activities.