Productivity is a buzzword right now for professionals and students alike. In today’s busy world, those who are expected to produce, to create in any way and maintain adherence to deadlines, have an obsession with productivity. Productivity by definition is actually associated with crops and agriculture. Today, productivity means getting as much done in as little amount of time as possible. More accurately, it means getting as much done with as much time as possible by not wasting any.
Students are stressed more than any generation before. Pushing themselves all day in their studies, internships, and extracurricular activities can result in little time to do much ado about nothing. As a result, substance abuse rates are high in students. Turning to stimulant drugs to be highly productive and severely mind altering or depressant drugs to relax, students lose their ability to naturally find ways to relax. Though they think they are enhancing their productivity by working hard and playing hard, it is actually the down time of doing absolutely nothing that they need the most. Relaxation 101 is missing from their curriculum.
Productive cycles can only last about 90-120 minutes before our bodies start sending us signals that it is time for a break. Restlessness, feeling tired, getting hungry, or having a difficult time focusing/producing are some of those signs. Mindful explains that “We all have peaks and valleys of energy and productivity.” These peaks and valleys are called our circadian and ultradian rhythms. “Paying attention to when we’re most energized and alert, as well as when we need to take a mental break, allows us to do our best work.”
The way to do your best work while continuing to be highly productive is by taking time to do nothing. Essentially, changing your rhythms from high speed to barely moving. “Science clearly tells us that being deliberate about managing busyness and balancing it with dedicated, unstructured downtime– not attempting to do or accomplish anything at all– promotes greater energy, mental clarity, creativity, and focus all day long.”
Learning how to balance a rigorous academic schedule and mental wellbeing is a challenge to every student. If you are struggling, Design For Change has a program that can help you develop the tools you need. For information, call us today at (877) 267-3646.