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By Shannon Pierce
We have all been there. Eating lunch at our desk, taking work phone calls in the car or during dinner time, constantly checking our phones and e-mails for work updates. Most people think that the more work they can squeeze in, the more work they can get done. However, a few recent studies might show different results.
It is a no brainer that jobs bring major stress into some of our lives. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health explains that 40 percent of workers find their jobs extremely stressful, and 25 percent of people say that their jobs are the leading stressor in their lives. Yikes!
So, how can we improve on those numbers? Staying late at work may not be the answer. You may think you are getting more done or even lightening your load for the following day, but research shows when you try to concentrate for too many hours, your brain becomes tired and you have less ability to concentrate or solve problems. You might be able to notice you have been at your desk or your workplace too long if you are struggling with a typically easy task, if you get distracted easily, or you get suddenly very tired. If you are spending way too many hours at work, you will notice your motivation goes down and an overall negative outlook on your job.
Luckily, there are options to avoid this burnout. Taking breaks throughout your day can increase your productivity and help you have a more positive outlook at work.
First, try taking a break at least every hour to refill a water bottle or step outside. Take the long route out the door so that you get your blood flowing. If you absolutely can’t leave your desk, make sure to do stretches at your desk.
Second, schedule quiet time rituals. If you can go find a quiet place either outside or in your car once or twice a day, try and do some deep breathing exercises, visualize positive outcomes, and take in the sights and sounds around you. This exercise pairs with the old adage, “Stop and smell the roses.”
Finally, find a positive outlet. Maybe it means meeting with a mentor or someone you know will make you laugh. Seek out that co-worker more often, take a break, have a laugh, and return to your desk feeling more positive and refreshed.
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