Did you know that the longest a person can focus intently on a task is 90 minutes? Any longer and productivity starts to spiral downhill—your mind wanders and you lose your edge. So what happens then? You start working on things that are easy but not very important in the overall scheme of things. And before you know it, the day’s gone.
A better approach is to get up and move. Go get some coffee. Take a brisk walk outside. Have a chat with a colleague. Call a friend on the phone. Do some stretching. And, if you work at home, consider doing the laundry or something else that’s totally mindless.
Aim for 15-20 minutes off. I know it feels as if you’re wasting time and not being productive when you take a break. But the truth is that your body and mind need that time to refresh. When you get back to your desk after your short break, you’ll be raring to go again.
Personally, I use this process whenever I schedule a day at the office. And, to make myself even more productive, I plan out my 90-minute sessions the night before. That way, when I arrive, I can focus on my most important “to do” first. The best thing about working this way is that I’m always accomplishing what really matters—instead of wasting time in on busy work just to keep going.
So give yourself a break. It’ll be well worth your time.
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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.