How Taking a Pause Boosts Your Productivity
Here at Untapped AI, we encourage our users to ‘time snatch’ - to carve chunks of time back for themselves. We believe it is KEY to balancing productivity and wellbeing, and it’s crucial to think about what’s getting in the way and how to begin pulling some time back for yourself
In this berserk world, with 24/7 accessibility to everything, and the perpetual nag that switching off is some form of shirking, we continue to live our lives accounting for every second. Six hours sleep is worn as a badge of honour, so-called relaxation is squittered away by doom-scrolling piffle on our devices, we stand erect and attuned while the internal radar continually scans for more - and then some.
The hedonism of modern life can devour us, causing a mental meltdown, chronic health issues, relationship trauma and professional burnout. Almost every month, we read new research confirming that this always-being-on connection is a sure route to disaster. And the basic, but blatantly obvious, the fact is that it is unsustainable. While short bursts of total immersion in the to-do list are okay, continually cramming your brain with ‘what’s next?’ will bring consequences.
But a solution might be simpler than you imagined. Albert Camus, the French philosopher and author, said, “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” At Untapped AI, our data shows that taking just 15 minutes a day for reflective thinking increases productivity by as much as 23%, while also lowering stress levels. The simple act of allowing yourself space for thought takes the edge off being stuck in the ‘hands-on' and alleviates feelings of guilt around stepping away from the task-related treadmill.
Our clients, who are encouraged to practise this discipline regularly, tell us that the process becomes increasingly appealing as they notice the benefits it brings to their lives. “What started as a few minutes here and there soon built into an essential daily ritual,” says Peter, CEO of a law firm, “I am now at the stage where I take up to a full hour to separate myself from work every day, and use that time to really think about everything, whether that’s my role, my family or how I am coping. It has made a world of difference to my stress levels and significantly heightened my clarity around what needs to get done and how.”
Make it a regular occurrence
A little goes a long way. While an hour’s separation from the whirlwind may be appealing, it’s not always possible. But creating a regular slot for time out is important, even if it is only in small slices. Yet, if you don’t build it into your routine, other stuff will always take priority and your good intentions will get bypassed. A British study suggested that it takes an average of 66 days before a regular habit becomes an automatic response. So consistent commitment to the end goal is key if you want to reap long term benefits.
What’s getting in your way?
A million things: I have too much to do, my brain won’t calm down, other people need me, it’s self-indulgent… Being alone with our thoughts is scary for most of us; the fear of what might bubble to the surface means avoidance is preferable. But stress and overwhelm always have to end up somewhere, and if that means uncomfortable thoughts stay buried in the crevasses of your mind, they are more likely to fester, hinder your progress and cause detrimental knock-on effects.
How important are you?
Exercise, eating healthily and carving out time for loved ones often feature high on our priority list. But when it comes to nurturing our mental wellbeing we tend to push it down the self-care list. If you can see reflection as part of your personal development, rather than an indulgent act of navel-gazing, you might start to notice how empowering it can be. Giving yourself specially allocated snatches of time to focus intently on what you need to thrive is never a selfish act - it’s essential maintenance for the mind.
The power of being inside your head
Self-reflection increases self-awareness, which in turn, increases the ‘doing’ part of your brain, thus impacting your capacity to make a conscious change. On our Untapped AI platform, we see a direct link between users taking time to observe themselves, and feeling that they have greater choice and agency in their behaviour. Our AI data shows that two-thirds of our users feel noticeably more empowered to take greater responsibility for themselves and their work. Over and over, we see a powerful shift in their productivity, innovation and ambition.